Martin Balsam

Martin Balsam

He was born Martin Henry Balsam on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, NY. His father was a manufacturer of women's sportswear and he was his first-born child. Martin caught the acting bug in high school where he participated in the drama club. After high school, he continued his interest in acting by attending Manhattan's progressive New School. When World War II broke out, Martin was called to service in his early twenties. After the war, he was lucky to secure a position as an usher at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. By 1947, he was honing his craft at the Actor's Studio, run at that time by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg. His time at the Actor's Studio in New York City allowed him training in the famous Stanislavsky method. Despite his excellent training, he had to prove himself, just like any up and coming young actor. He began on Broadway in the late 1940s. But, it wasn't until 1951 that he experienced real success. That play was Tennessee Williams "The Rose Tattoo". After his Broadway success, he had a few minor television roles before his big break arrived when he joined the cast of "On the Waterfront" (1954). In the 1950s, Martin had many television roles. He had recurring roles on some of the most popular television series of that time, including "the United States Steel Hour", "The Philco Television Playhouse", "Goodyear Television Playhouse" and "Studio One". In 1957, he was able to prove himself on the big-screen once again, with a prominent role in "12 Angry Men", directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda. All of Martin's TV work in the 1950s did not go to waste. While starring on a episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", Hitchcock was so impressed by his work, that he offered him a key supporting role of Detective Arbogast in "Psycho" (1960). His work with Hitchcock opened him up to a world of other acting opportunities. Many strong movie roles came his way in the 1960's, including parts in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), "Cape Fear" (1961) and "The Carpetbaggers" (1964). One of the proudest moments in his life was when he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "A Thousand Clowns" (1965). In was soon after that he began accepting roles in European movies. He soon developed a love for Italy, and lived there most of his remaining years. He acted in over a dozen Italian movies and spent his later life traveling between Hollywood and Europe for his many roles. After a career that spanned more than fifty years, Martin Balsam died of natural causes in his beloved Italy at the age of 76. He passed away of a heart attack at a hotel in Rome called Residenza di Repetta. He was survived by his third wife Irene Miller and three children, Adam, Zoe and Talia.

YearTitleCharacterRelease Date
1994

The Silence of the Hams

Det. Martin Balsam1994-07-13
1991

Cape Fear

Judge1991-11-15
1990

The Last Match

Lawyer1990-02-01
1990
Two Evil Eyes
Mr. Pym1990-01-25
1988
The Brother from Space
Frather Howard1988-01-01
1987

Brothers in Blood

1987-10-01
1987

P.I. Private Investigations

Cliff Dowling1987-06-05
1986

The Delta Force

Ben Kaplan1986-02-14
1986
The Goodbye People
1986-01-31
1986
Second Serve
Dr. Beck1986-01-01
1985
Grown Ups
Jack1985-11-25
1985
Death Wish 3
Bennett Cross1985-11-01
1985
St. Elmo's Fire
Mr. Beamish1985-06-28
1985
Space
Sen. Glancey1985-04-13
1985
Murder in Space
1985-01-01
1984
Innocent Prey
Virgil Baker1984-01-01
1982
Little Gloria... Happy at Last
Nathan Burkan1982-10-24
1981
The People vs. Jean Harris
Joel Aurnou1981-05-07
1981
The Salamander
Captain Steffanelli1981-01-01
1980
L'avvertimento
Questore Martorana1980-08-15
1980
There Goes The Bride
Elmer Babcock1980-07-07
1979
Cuba
Gen. Bello1979-12-21
1979
Aunt Mary
Harry Strasberg1979-12-05
1979
The House on Garibaldi Street
Isser Harel1979-05-28
1979
Gardenia
Salluzzo1979-05-05
1978
Rainbow
Louis B. Mayer1978-11-06
1978
Silver Bears
Joe Fiore1978-07-21
1978
Siege
Henry Fancher1978-04-26
1978
Eyes Behind the Stars
Inspector Jim Grant1978-02-21
1977
The Storyteller
Ira Davidoff1977-12-05
1977
Contract on Cherry Street
Capt. Ernie Weinberg1977-11-19
1977
The Sentinel
Prof. Ruzinsky1977-01-07
1977
Blood and Diamonds
Rizzo1977-01-01
1976
Two-Minute Warning
Sam McKeever1976-11-12
1976
Death Rage
Commissario1976-10-22
1976
Meet Him And Die
Giulianelli1976-10-08
1976
All the President's Men
Howard Simons1976-04-04
1976
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case
Edward J. Reilly1976-02-26
1975
Season For Assassins
Commissioner Katroni1975-12-27
1975
Mitchell
James Arthur Cummings1975-09-10
1975
Cry, Onion!
Petrus Lamb1975-08-25
1975
Smiling Maniacs
Carlo Goja1975-01-16
1975
Miles to Go Before I Sleep
Ben Montgomery1975-01-08
1974
Murder on the Orient Express
Signor Bianchi1974-11-24
1974
Trapped Beneath the Sea
T.C. Hollister1974-10-22
1974
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Mr. Green - Harold Longman1974-10-02
1973
Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams
Harry Walden1973-10-21
1973
Counselor at Crime
Don Antonio Macaluso1973-08-30
1973
The Stone Killer
Al Vescari1973-08-08
1973
The Six Million Dollar Man
Dr. Rudy Wells1973-03-07
1973
A Brand New Life
Jim Douglas1973-02-20
1972
Night of Terror
Capt. Caleb Sark1972-10-10
1972
The Man
Jim Talley1972-07-19
1972
The Hassled Hooker
Turrisi1972-04-07
1972
Chronicle of a Homicide
Giudice Aldo Sola1972-02-04
1971
The Anderson Tapes
Haskins1971-06-17
1971
Confessions of a Police Captain
Commissario Bonavia1971-03-26
1970
Little Big Man
Mr. Merriweather1970-12-14
1970
The Old Man Who Cried Wolf
Stanley Pulska1970-10-13
1970
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel1970-09-23
1970
Catch-22
Colonel Cathcart (CO, 256th Squadron)1970-06-24
1970
Hunters Are for Killing
Wade Hamilton1970-03-12
1969
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys
Mayor Wilker1969-11-19
1969
Me, Natalie
Uncle Harold1969-07-13
1969
Trilogy
Ivor Belli1969-06-08
1967
Hombre
Henry Mendez1967-03-21
1966
After the Fox
Harry1966-01-01
1965
A Thousand Clowns
Arnold Burns1965-12-13
1965
The Bedford Incident
Lieut Cmdr. Chester Potter, M.D., U.S.N.1965-10-11
1965
Harlow
Richard Manley1965-06-23
1964
Seven Days in May
Paul Girard1964-02-12
1964
The Carpetbaggers
Bernard B. Norman1964-01-01
1963
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?
Sanford Kaufman1963-12-25
1962
Conquered City
Joseph Feinberg1962-12-05
1962
Cape Fear
Police Chief Mark Dutton1962-04-12
1961
Breakfast at Tiffany's
O.J. Berman1961-10-05
1961
Ada
Steve Jackson1961-08-25
1960
Everybody Go Home
Sergente Quintino Fornaciari1960-10-27
1960
Psycho
Det. Milton Arbogast1960-08-14
1959
Middle of the Night
Jack1959-06-17
1959
Al Capone
Mac Keeley, reporter1959-01-01
1958
Marjorie Morningstar
Dr. David Harris1958-04-24
1957
Time Limit
Sgt. Baker1957-10-23
1957
12 Angry Men
Juror 11957-03-25
1954
On the Waterfront
Gillette (uncredited)1954-06-22