John Francis McMartin
August 21, 1929
Warsaw, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||July 6, 2016 (aged 86)|
(m. 1960; div. 1971)
John Francis McMartin (August 21, 1929 – July 6, 2016) was an American actor of stage, film and television.
Life and career
McMartin was born in Warsaw, Indiana on August 21, 1929 and raised in Minnesota. After graduating from high school, McMartin joined the United States Army and became a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. He attended Columbia College Chicago, but did not graduate and he later attended college in New York. He made his off-Broadway debut in Little Mary Sunshine in 1959, opposite Eileen Brennan and Elmarie Wendel. He won a Theatre World Award for his role as Corporal Billy Jester, and married one of the show's producers, Cynthia Baer, in 1960; they divorced in 1971.
His first Broadway appearance was as Forrest Noble in The Conquering Hero in 1961, which was followed by Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. He created the role of Oscar in Sweet Charity in 1966, opposite Gwen Verdon, garnering a Tony nomination, and played the role again in the 1969 film opposite Shirley MacLaine. He was reportedly cast in Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962, but his role was cut before the show opened.
He later starred in the original Broadway production of Sondheim's Follies opposite Alexis Smith in 1971 as Benjamin Stone, introducing the ballad "The Road You Didn't Take". His association with Sondheim has continued, appearing in A Little Night Music as Frederick at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, in 1991. The reviewer for the Orange County Register (California) wrote that the actor was "aggressively deadpan as her rediscovered old flame ..." He appeared in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods in 2002, in the dual role of the Narrator/Mysterious Man.
Other Broadway roles include the Narrator in Happy New Year, Ben in A Little Family Business (adapted by Jay Presson Allen, 1982), Donner in Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase, Cap'n Andy in Kern and Hammerstein's Show Boat (1994), and Uncle Willie in Cole Porter's High Society (1998). He also had a role, as the American Revolutionary naval hero John Paul Jones, in the unsuccessful Loesser/Spewack musical, Pleasures and Palaces, which closed in Detroit. In regional theater, he originated the role of Benteen in the Folger Theater Group's 1979 production of Custer at the Kennedy Center.
McMartin was a leading member of the New Phoenix Repertory Company during their three Broadway seasons in the early 1970s, appearing onstage in, among other productions, Eugene O'Neill's The Great God Brown (opposite Katherine Helmond), Molière's Dom Juan, and Luigi Pirandello's The Rules of the Game.
He played "Anton Schell" opposite Chita Rivera in Kander and Ebb's musical The Visit (based on the play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt) at the Goodman Theatre. He created the roles of "J.V. 'Major' Bouvier" and Norman Vincent Peale in Grey Gardens, opposite Mary Louise Wilson and Christine Ebersole. He played Thomas Jefferson in the original cast of John Guare's A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center (2010–2011), and next played "Elisha Whitney" in the 2011 Broadway revival of Anything Goes, opposite Jessica Walter.
On television, he appeared on the soap opera As the World Turns as John Rice, whose mother's death had been blamed on Dr. Doug Cassen. He later was on the CBS drama East Side West Side and in the first two seasons of Beauty and the Beast (1987) as Charles Chandler, father of Catherine (Linda Hamilton). He also appeared in The Golden Girls (Season 2) as Frank Leahy who, unbeknownst to Dorothy (Bea Arthur) who is romantically attracted to him, is a priest. He appeared on The Bob Newhart Show (Season 2) as the Rev. Dr. Dan Bradford in "Somebody Down Here Likes Me.". He appeared on Cheers (Season 7) in "The Visiting Lecher". He appeared as radio personality Fletcher Grey on Frasier (Season 1). He also appeared in four episodes of Murder, She Wrote. He also appeared as Shirley Jones' love interest in The Partridge Family episode titled "When Mother Gets Married".
On film his roles included the foreign editor in All the President's Men (1976), a Senator in Brubaker (1980), a political advisor in Blow Out (1981) and a significant part in Legal Eagles (1986) as millionaire Mr. Forrester.
McMartin died of cancer in Manhattan on July 6, 2016, aged 86. He is survived by his two daughters from his marriage, and his long-time partner, actress Charlotte Moore, the artistic director of the Irish Repertory Theatre.
|1965||A Thousand Clowns||The Man in the Office|
|1968||What's So Bad About Feeling Good?||The Mayor|
|1976||All the President's Men||Foreign Editor|
|1980||Brubaker||Senator Charles Hite|
|1981||Blow Out||Lawrence Henry|
|1981||Pennies From Heaven||Mr. Warner|
|1986||Native Son||Mr. Dalton|
|1987||Who's That Girl||Simon Worthington|
|1989||Little Sweetheart||Uncle David|
|1990||A Shock to the System||George Brewster|
|1998||Three Businessmen||Liverpool Businessman|
|2000||The Dish||U.S. Ambassador Howard|
|2007||No Reservations||Mr. Peterson|
|1956||As the World Turns||Ed Rice|
|1958||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Performer||Episode: The Invisible Mark|
|1961||Frontiers of Faith||Man||Episode: Let Us Build a Tower|
|1963||The DuPont Show of the Week||Performer||Episode: Ride with Terror|
|1963||Ride with Terror||Performer||Television Movie|
|1964||East Side West Side||Mike Miller||3 episodes|
|1964||The Doctors and the Nurses||William Devon||Episode: A Postcard from Yucatan|
|1964||Mr. Broadway||Robertson||Episode: Try to Find a Spy|
|1965||Profiles in Courage||Tumulty||Episode: Woodrow Wilson|
|1965||A Flame in the Wind||Ted||2 episodes|
|1968||Premiere||John Higher/Prof. Josh Enders||2 episodes|
|1969||Judd, for the Defense||Don Townsend||Episode: Visitation|
|1969||Medical Center||Dan Caldwell||Episode: A Life Is Waiting|
|1970||Marcus Welby, M.D.||John Ambrose||Episode: Fun and Games and John Ambrose|
|1970||Ritual of Evil||Edward Bolander||Television Movie|
|1970||The Partridge Family||Larry Metcalfe||Episode: When Mother Gets Married|
|1971||Hawaii Five-O||Ron Nicholson||2 episodes|
|1971||Love, American Style||Peter Ferguson||Season 2 Episode 23|
|1971||God Bless Mr. Ferguson||Performer||Television Movie|
|1973||The Bob Newhart Show||Rev. Daniel Bradford||Episode: Somebody Down Here Likes Me|
|1974||Harry O||Jordan Briggs||Episode: The Admiral's Lady|
|1975||Cannon||Sen. Arlen Andrews||Episode: Nightmare|
|1975||Fear on Trial||Tom Murray||Television Movie|
|1975-76||Phyllis||Jerome Patterson||2 episodes|
|1976||Fay||Performer||Episode: Fay and the Doctor|
|1976||The Rockford Files||Timson Farrell||Episode: The Fourth Man|
|1976||The Fatal Weakness||Paul Espenshade||Television Movie|
|1976||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Barry Munroe||Episode: Mary Gets a Lawyer|
|1978||The Defection of Simas Kudirka||Phillip Chadway||Television Movie|
|1979||Dear Detective||Performer||Episode #1.4|
|1980||The Greatest Man in the World||Ames Herbert||Television Movie|
|1981||Hart to Hart||Cole Morefeld||Episode: Murder Wrap|
|1975-81||Great Performances||Performer||2 episodes|
|1983||The Last Ninja||Mr. Cosmo||Television Movie|
|1982-84||American Playhouse||Performer||2 episodes|
|1984-86||Magnum, P.I.||Jason Bryan/Bill Campbell||2 episodes|
|1985-86||Falcon Crest||Julian J. Roberts||8 episodes|
|1986||Murrow||Frank Stanton||Television Movie|
|1986||Kay O'Brien||Jack O'Brien||Episode: Don't Bother Kayo It's Chinatown|
|1987||The Golden Girls||Father Frank Leahy||Episode: Forgive Me, Father|
|1987-89||Beauty and the Beast||Charles Chandler||4 episodes|
|1988||Lincoln||Salmon P. Chase||2 episodes|
|1988||Roots: The Gift||Edmund Parker Sr.||Television Movie|
|1989||Tattingers||Frederick Lund||Episode: Broken Windows|
|1989||Day One||Dr. Arthur Compton||Television Movie|
|1989||Cheers||Dr. Lawrence Crandell||Episode: The Visiting Lecher|
|1991||Separate But Equal||Gov. James F. Byrnes||Television Miniseries|
|1985-91||Murder, She Wrote||Various Roles||4 episodes|
|1992||Empty Nest||Rev. Chambers||Episode: The Son of a Preacherman|
|1992||Citizen Cohn||Older Doctor||Television Movie|
|1992||Sisters||J.D. Fitzway||Episode: Portrait of the Artists|
|1990-92||Coach||Judge Watkins||2 episodes|
|1993||Ghostwriter||Alan Charles||Episode: Who's Who - Part 3|
|1993||Bob||Dr. O'Reilly||Episode: Better to How Loved and Flossed|
|1994||Frasier||Fletcher Grey||Episode: And the Whimper Is...|
|1997-98||Touched by an Angel||Earl Gray/Ed Greeley||2 episodes|
|1999||Spin City||Sen. Joseph Grady||Episode: The Thanksgiving Show|
|2000||Oz||Lars Nathan||2 episodes|
|2001||Further Tales of the City||Royal Reichenbach||3 episodes|
|1992-09||Law & Order||Various Roles||5 episodes|
|2015||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Grant||Episode: Kimmy Goes on a Date|
|1961||The Conquering Hero||Forrest Noble||ANTA Washington Square Theatre|
|1961||Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole||Performer||Ambassador Theatre|
|1963||Children From Their Games||Sidney Balzer||Morosco Theatre|
|1963||A Rainy Day in Newark||Edward L. Voorhees||Belasco Theater|
|1966||Sweet Charity||Oscar||Palace Theatre|
|1971-72||Follies||Benjamin Stone||Winter Garden Theatre|
|1972-73||The Great God Brown||Dion Anthony||Lyceum Theatre|
|1973||Sondheim: A Musical Tribute||Performer||Benefit Concert, Shubert Theatre|
|1973-74||The Visit||Anton Schill||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|
|1973-74||Chemin de Fer||Fedot|
|1974||Love for Love||Foresight||Helen Hayes Theatre|
|1974||The Rules of the Game||Leone Gala|
|1980||Happy New Year||Narrator||Morosco Theater|
|1982||Solomon's Child||Allan||Little Theatre|
|1982||A Little Family Business||Ben||Martin Beck Theatre|
|1989||Artist Descending a Staircase||Donner||Helen Hayes Theatre|
|1994-97||Show Boat||Cap'n Andy||Gershwin Theatre|
|1998||High Society||Uncle Willie||St. James Theatre|
|2002||Into the Woods||Mysterious Man/Narrator||Broadhurst Theatre|
|2004||Passion||Doctor Tambourri||Special benefit concert|
|2006||Grey Gardens||J.V. "Major" Bouvier
Norman Vincent Peale
|Walter Kerr Theatre|
|2007||Is He Dead?||Papa Leroux||Lyceum Theatre|
|2009||Chance & Chemistry||Performer||Minskoff Theatre|
|2010||Sondheim: The Birthday Concert||Performer||New York Philharmonic|
|2010||A Free Man of Color||Thomas Jefferson||Vivian Beaumont Theatre|
|2011||Anything Goes||Elisha Whitney||Stephen Sondheim Theatre|
|2014||All the Way||Richard Russell, Jr.||Neil Simon Theatre|
|1959||Little Mary Sunshine||Cpl."Billy" Jester||Cherry Lane Theatre|
|1964||Too Much Johnson||Mr. Billings||Phoenix Theatre|
|1977||The Misanthrope||Alceste||The Public Theatre|
|1988||Julius Caesar||Julius Caesar|
|2005||Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story||Parole Board (voiceover)||York Theatre|
|2006||Grey Gardens||Major Bouvier
Norman Vincent Peale
|2006||Indian Blood||Eddie's Grandfather||Primary Stages Theatre|
|2008||Saturn Returns||Performer||Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre|
|2013||The Explorer's Club||Performer||Manhattan Theatre Club|
Other Theatre Credits
|1977||Follies||Benjamin Stone||National Tour|
|1991||A Little Night Music||Frederick Egerman||Berkshire Theatre Festival |
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
|1996-98||Show Boat||Cap'n Andy||National Tour|
|2002||The Visit||Anton||Goodman Theatre, Chicago,|
|2010||Paradise Found||Shah||West End|
Awards and Nominations
|1960||Theatre World Award||N/A||Little Mary Sunshine||Won|
|1966||Tony Award||Best Featured Actor - Musical||Sweet Charity||Nominated|
|1973||Best Featured Actor in a Play||Don Juan||Nominated|
|1973||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Performance||Won|
|1973||Outstanding Performance||The Great God Brown||Won|
|1995||Tony Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Show Boat||Nominated|
|1998||Best Featured Actor in a Musical||High Society||Nominated|
|1998||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|1998||Outer Critics Circle Award||Best Featured Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|2002||Tony Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Into the Woods||Nominated|
|2006||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Grey Gardens||Nominated|
|2011||Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Anything Goes||Nominated|
|2014||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play||All the Way||Nominated|
- Simonson, Robert (July 7, 2016). "John McMartin, Seasoned Stage Actor, Dies at 86". Playbill. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
- Some sources inaccurately cite the date as November 18, 1929.
- Grimes, William (2016-07-12). "John McMartin, 86, versatile and prolific actor of stage, screen". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
- Kaufmann, Stanley. "Theater: Show That Wants to Be Loved; 'Sweet Charity' Opens at Refurbished Palace" The New York Times (abstract), January 31, 1966, p. 22
- Canby, Vincent. The New York Times movie review, Sweet Charity, April 2, 1969
- "'Follies' listing, Broadway 1971", sondheimguide.com; accessed August 26, 2012
- "1990-91 SEASON; A Little Night Music, April 18-June 30, 1991"[permanent dead link] centertheatregroup.org (webcache.googleusercontent.com), accessed August 26, 2012
- Willis, John. "Ahmanson Theatre" Theatre World 1990-1991, Vol. 47 (books.google.com), Hal Leonard Corporation, 1992, ISBN 1557831254, p. 121
- O'Connor, Thomas. "REVIEW;'Night Music' makes its way to Doolittle", Orange County Register (California), April 19, 1991, SHOW; p. 18.
- Gans, Andrew. "Fifth Time the Charm for John McMartin?: 'Into the Woods' Star Talks Sondheim", Playbill, May 23, 2002
- "'Into the Woods', 2002 Broadway Revival Production", sondheimguide.com, accessed August 26, 2012
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review; Sondheim Reprise Puts Music Ahead of the Journey", The New York Times (abstract), May 1, 2002 (Late Edition), Section E; Column 2; Arts/Cultural Desk; p. 1
- Rich, Frank (December 16, 1982). "'Family Business', with Angela Lansbury". The New York Times. p. C15.
- Lefkowitz, David. "John McMartin Returning to 'Show Boat' Nov. 5" Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Playbill, October 28, 1996
- Haun, Harry. "Uncle Of The Bride: John McMartin in 'High Society'" Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine Playbill, May 21, 1998
- Suskin, Steven (March 9, 2010). "Frank Loesser". Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers. Oxford University Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-1998-8615-9.
- Lardner, James (October 10, 1979). "Taking Another Stand on 'Custer'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
- Jones, Kenneth."Bow Voyage Extended: 'Anything Goes' Will Steam Into April 2012, With Sutton Foster on the Bow", Playbill, September 19, 2011.
- John McMartin at IMDb
- "John McMartin Obituary". The New York Times. July 6, 2016.
- Gans, Andrew. "Redgrave, Schwartz, Lloyd Webber and More Inducted Into Theater Hall of Fame Jan. 25". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved August 25, 2019.