Film characters soon followed, and Short appeared in a few of the greatest comedy hits of the 1980s, including Innerspace and Three Amigos.
Known for his wacky characters and dead on impressions, Martin Short was a born entertainer, aspiring to get his own variety show at a very young age. Upward in his bedroom, Short would record a show of his own making, which featured tunes and interviews. “I wished to be Frank Sinatra; I believed being Frank was trendy,” Short told People magazine.
His family was supportive of his creative efforts and his sibs frequently joined in the fun. “Being the youngest of five, you are adored, you are fueled with confidence.” Short told TIME magazine. His mom, Olive, was a violinist and concert master for the Hamilton Symphony, and she offered her son positive comments on his singing. His business executive dad, Charles, was also unfazed by his son’s actions. “Absurdity and eccentricity are not criticized,” Short told reporters.
But Short’s apparently idyllic life wasn’t without personal adversity. His oldest brother died in an auto accident when Short was just 12 years old. His mom subsequently fought a long fight against cancer, during which Short and remainder of his family worked hard to maintain her spirits up. Unfortunately, she died when Short was 18. He suffered another loss several years afterwards, when his dad passed away following a stroke. Despite these great losses, nevertheless, Short stayed cheerful and positive. “I never looked at it as if it was a tragedy—that I did not have them my entire life … our entire family took the approach that if you’ve excellent moments, do not second guess them, only love them,” he said.
At McMaster University, Short studied to get a diploma in social work. He also started researching his fascination with performing during his past year of education. Auditioning to get a 1972 production of Godspell, Short was surprised to get a part. “I could not believe it. I had been in show business for approximately an hour or so and suddenly I had a job,” he said.
After Godspell, Short worked on several stage productions and television programs in Toronto. Before long, Short moved to New York where he got a part on the short lived sitcom The Associates in 1979.
Shortly following the show was canceled in 1980, Short suffered another situation comedy flop—I am a Big Girl Now (1980) with Danny Thomas and Diana Canova—before getting his first big break. He also mimicked such well known characters as Dustin Hoffman and comedian superstar Jerry Lewis.
Changing from one sketch comedy show to a different, Short signed up to be about the popular Saturday Night Live. on SNL, Short reprised his role as Ed Grimley and debuted character Nathan Thurm, a closely wound and sketchy attorney, both of which became popular using the show’s devotees. Short just appeared on SNL for one season.
His turn as a far-out wedding planner was well received, but Short was not able to be a huge box office draw.
In 1993, Short set his many gifts to great use on the Broadway stage. Short additionally realized among his early visions the next year, when he started his own syndicated talk show. While the program got warm reviews, it failed to capture enough of an audience to keep on the air. Due to his duties to the show, Short had to turn down Mel Brooks’s offer to star in the hit musical The Producers, according to his earlier movie by the exact same name. Matthew Broderick ended up taking the part.
An essential success, he won the Tony Award for The Best Performer in a Musical. Short returned to television using the mock star interview program Primetime Glick in 2001. On the show, he resurrected among his popular characters, a rotund and clueless journalist named Jiminy Glick. A number of well-known personalities appeared on the show, including Tim Robbins, John McEnroe and Tom Hanks. Not everyone got the joke—comic Tom Green apparently walked out on his interview with Glick. The show was canceled in 2003, and Short portrayed the character on the big screen the next year in the movie Jiminy Glick in Lalawood.
Short brought Jiminy Glick back within his 2007 one man Broadway show Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. In this show, he researched his life and poked fun at its dearth of common star drama.
Recently, Short has revealed more of his remarkable side.
His wife, Nancy, with whom he had three kids, passed away in August 2010. Short and his family live in California.