Barney Martin, a comedian and stage actor best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s father on the hit television series “Seinfeld,” died of cancer March 21 in Studio City, Calif. He was 82.
Martin got his start in film when Mel Brooks featured him in “The Producers” in 1968. That role launched Martin into Broadway theater, where he appeared in a number of musicals, including “South Pacific,” “The Fantasticks,” All American” and “How Now Dow Jones.”
He is credited with creating the role of Roxy’s unappreciated husband, Amos Hart, in the musical “Chicago.”
Martin also appeared in a number of TV series in the 1990s, including “The Tony Randall Show,” “US,” “Sydney” and “Zorro and Son.”
Born in the Queens, New York, Martin served in the Air Force during World War II before starting a 20-year career as a New York City police detective, where he showed a talent for making deputy police commissioners laugh during presentations. In the 1950s, he began writing on the side for comedy shows such as “Name That Tune” and “The Steve Allen Show.”
He was best known for his role as Morty Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld’s father on the TV series. Martin was the third actor to play the part and became the one most identified with the role of the Florida retiree.
He is survived by his wife Catherine, a son, two grandsons and two great-grandsons.