10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Martin Short

10 Facts You Didn't Know About Martin Short

With Only Murders in the Building in the middle of season 2, Hulu already renewed it for a third season. This comedy series is the hottest show on Hulu, with Oliver Putnam being the glue that keeps the trio together to solve murders. The character is played by comedy legend Martin Short, who recently earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, alongside co-star Steve Martin. 

Short’s long history as an actor and comedian, as well as his real-life friendship with Martin, makes him the perfect fit for the role of Oliver. Some of his achievements are a cult following for his performance in Clifford and a Canadian coin named after him, to name a few.

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Godspell

Martin Short in Godspell

According to The Washington Post, Short starred in the Toronto production of Godspell along with Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, and Andrea Martin, to name a few. These cast members all became famous and formed friendships that lasted 50 years.

RELATED: 10 Major Hollywood Actors You Didn’t Know Had Appeared On Stage

It is impressive that Short and many other cast members became famous through the same production of Godspell. So many of them went on to work together again, for example in series such as Saturday Night Live and SCTV. The group formed a tight bond while performing the musical, which shows how the production brought the cast closer together.

He Has His Coin

The coin issued by Canada for Martin Short

According to Coin World, Short had a coin from the Royal Canadian Mint named after him in 2013. The coin was called “Martin Short Presents Canada” and featured an interpretation of Short’s summer home in Muskoka, Ontario. Short had this to say about the project,  “As much as I adore the excitement of cities, it’s rural Canada that has always had my heart…When I’m there, I feel like I’m in heaven. More than anything, that’s what Canada means to me.”

Short having a coin named after him shows how well appreciated he is in his native Canada. It’s a very personal tribute to Short as well as illustrating one of his favorite places in Canada since the image is part of one of his residences. Short’s love of rural Canada is heartwarming, considering what a big figure he is in show business.

Played a Ten Year Old Boy as An Adult

Martin Short as Clifford

The Playlist discusses how in the comedy film Clifford the then middle-aged Short played a ten-year-old boy who caused chaos for his Uncle Martin, played by the late Charles Grodin. Via Box Office Mojo, the film bombed horribly at the box office but, in later years, reached cult classic status and was even featured in 2021’s Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

RELATED: 10 Hollywood Movies That Flopped Theatrically But Became Cult Classics

The bizarreness of Short playing a terrifying ten-year-old boy as a full-grown man makes the film come across as more of a horror comedy than a family film. This has contributed to the fascination audiences have had with the film years later that has given the film cult status. The film also showcased the talents of the late Grodin, who played Clifford’s constantly exasperated uncle.

His Father Was Deported from the U.S.

Martin Short as Oliver Putnam in Only Murders in the Building season 2

According to The Guardian, his father tried to stow away from Northern Ireland to Texas but was turned away as an illegal immigrant. He then immigrated successfully to Canada where he met Short’s mother.

It shows that Short’s family shares the immigrant story that many can relate to in Western society and the chance of fulfilling a dream. This led him on the path of becoming an established comedian, which only highlights the family dream and legacy.

Attic Entertainer

Martin Short singing next to Christmas Trees

As one of the untold truths reported via Looper, child, Short used to pretend to be a famous singer and show business personality while in his attic. He recorded his version of Sinatra’s “September of My Years” as “Martin Short Sings of Songs and Loves Ago.” He also had his imaginary TV show called “The Martin Short Variety Hour,” which included celebrity guest stars, host quips, and music.

Short clearly had early creativity and a penchant for show business at a very young age. His play time as a child predicted so much of where he would end up as a performer later in life, including hosting his own variety show in Maya & Marty. It’s also a unique kind of playtime for a child, as not many would think to do something this elaborate.

He Impersonated Bette Davis To Her Face and She Didn’t Like it

Martin Short with Bette Davis

In this YouTube clip during a 1988 interview, Short impersonated actress Bette Davis (who was also a guest) briefly after she requested him to and she was unimpressed.

This just goes to show that even skilled comedians and impressionists like Short can leave other celebrities cold. It must be difficult for an actor like Short to try to copy such a well know actress, especially since she was sitting right next to him. However, these experiences allow any comedian to learn from their mistakes, and it likely helped him to portray the washed-up Oliver in Only Murders in the Building to come to terms with his past failures. 

Colonoscopy Parties

Only Murders In The Building Steve Martin Martin Short and Selena Gomez as Charles-Haden Savage Oliver Putnam and Mabel Mora Season 3 Renewal

People discussed how Short, Martin, and Tom Hanks all get together every other year for their colonoscopy party. They drink the laxatives they are meant to have before the procedure, play poker and watch comedy movies together beforehand, and then go out for a big meal afterward.

RELATED: Tom Hanks’ 10 Best Movies, According To Ranker

It’s fortunate that the three are close enough friends that they are able to support each other for such an uncomfortable yet important procedure. The fact that they are able to talk about it on talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! shows their commitment to this practice and are able to spread awareness of it as well. Hopefully, the three of them will be able to continue this practice for a long time.

His Character Jiminy Glick Was Based on a Real-life Talk Show Host

Martin Short as Jiminy Glick

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the late Skip E. Lowe, a well-known public access talk show host, was the real-life inspiration for Short’s character Jiminy Glick. Lowe did his interviews in a similar way to how Short’s Glick did them, facing each other, sitting in chairs with tight close-ups, often getting big-name celebrities.

Despite being a low-budget public access show, it really says something that it was able to inspire Short to create one of his most popular characters. It also says something about Lowe’s interviewing skills that he managed to get former big names, like Orson Welles and Shelley Winters on the show. Lowe, though deceased, will be remembered through Short’s Glick.

He is Considered Very Nice

Close up of Martin Short wearing a suit in Innerspace

According to Vanity Fair, Short is said to be one of the rare comedians who are legitimately kind and even-keeled. Head of Saturday Night Live and Short’s friend Lorne Michaels had this to say about him: “It really sets him apart. I’m trying to remember, but I don’t think he ever went through that megalomaniac period.”

His humble nature is a trait that resonates with his character Oliver, who is also quite friendly with his neighbors. It also speaks volumes about his close friendship with another fellow SNL member and co-star Martin, which allows them to kick off this dynamic chemistry on-screen as Oliver and Charles.

He Really Loved His Wife

Martin Short as Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd, D.D.S. in Inherent Vice sitting at his desk

Short and his late wife Nancy Dolman had a very successful marriage for over thirty years. In this interview with AARP, Short discusses how he still talks to his wife even after she passed: ” She died in 2010, but I still communicate with her all the time. It’s “Hey, Nan,” you know? How would she react to this decision or that… This idea that it just ends, and don’t speak of them — that’s wrong…So to me, she’s still here.”

Short also reiterated that “her death emboldened me to take risks.” As to what these risks are unclear. But his marriage with Dolman only exemplifies the testament of their love for each other, even with her passing.

NEXT: Martin Short’s 10 Best Movies & TV Shows, Ranked By IMDb

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About The Author

Olivia Hayward
(42 Articles Published)

Olivia has been a television, film, book, and theatre nerd since childhood. She was lucky enough to grow up in her family’s DVD store, where she explored the shelves daydreaming of what was inside the boxes. Her family brought her up on a steady diet of classic films and television. Today, she is ever-appreciative of the instant access and wide variety of streaming services. Favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, romance, musicals, suspense and comedy. Some of her favorite shows are Doctor Who, Stranger Things, and Good Omens. She has a soft spot for Labyrinth, Beauty and the Beast, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, and Lair of the White Worm. She has an Arts, Production and Performance degree, and is an aspiring scriptwriter. She enjoys taking challenging online writing courses, and participates in a supportive writers’ group. She hopes to one day create stories that inspire others to daydream like she does.

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