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Subject: Archive: Marty Feldman, Dec. 2, 1982


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Comic actor
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Date Posted: Saturday, December 02, 01:01:13pm

Marty Feldman, the wild-eyed British comedian who became known to American moviegoers for his antic performances in such films as ''Young Frankenstein,'' ''The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes's Smarter Brother'' and ''Silent Movie,'' died Thursday in his hotel room in Mexico City. He was 48 years old. The cause of death was ''a massive heart attack,'' according to his manager, Michael Maslansky.

Mr. Feldman had been in Mexico City since Oct. 19 for the filming of his starring role in the Orion Pictures production of ''Yellowbeard.'' The movie, which was written by Graham Chapman, a member of the Monty Python team, was nearly completed at the time of Mr. Feldman's death.

Mr. Feldman first became popular with American audiences in 1974 as the happy hunchback Igor (''Call me Eye-gore'') in Mel Brooks's film ''Young Frankenstein.'' That role was the start of a busy film career that included Gene Wilder's ''The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes's Smarter Brother'' and ''Silent Movie,'' another picture by Mel Brooks.

In 1977, Mr. Feldman turned to directing for the first time with ''The Last Remake of Beau Geste,'' a satire of Foreign Legion films. Mr. Feldman wrote the film with Chris Allen and also starred in it. He put together a stellar cast that included Ann-Margret, Michael York, Peter Ustinov, James Earl Jones and Trevor Howard. Monk and a Prostitute

In 1979 Mr. Feldman directed and starred in another film that he wrote with Mr. Allen, ''In God We Trust (or Gimme That Prime Time Religion''). Mr. Feldman played a monk who falls in love with a prostitute, played by Louise Lasser. Peter Boyle and Andy Kaufman were also in the movie.
Mr. Feldman began his career in show business as a comedy writer for British radio and televison.

In 1967 David Frost, then a television producer for the BBC, asked Mr. Feldman to join the future Monty Python members Graham Chapman and John Cleese as a writer and performer in ''At Last, the 1948 Show.'' That program made Mr. Feldman a star, and he soon had his own weekly television series.
A BBC tribute to Mr. Feldman yesterday recalled that when he left Britain in 1974 the comedian owed $118,000 in taxes but was convinced that he would repay his debt and become a financial success in Hollywood. The BBC went on to report that Mr. Feldman had succeeded.

Mr. Feldman was born on July 8, 1934, in London's East End. After dropping out of school at the age of 15 he formed his own jazz group, in which he played the trumpet. He also toured England's carnival circuit as an assistant to an Indian fakir.

'Strictly Working Class'

''I'm strictly working class, then and now,'' he said years later. ''The difference is that then I got on a bus, went to my job in a factory and returned at night to my tenement. Now I have a bigger house, and I ride to work in a Rolls. But I'm still working in a factory, only now it's called Universal.''

Mr. Feldman was a short, wiry man with a prodigious nose and curly hair. But his trademark was his bulging eyeballs. He was not reluctant to joke about his distinctive appearance. He described it as ''the sum total of the disasters of my life.''

Mr. Feldman also said, ''If I aspired to be Robert Redford, I'd have my eyes straightened and my nose fixed and end up like every other lousy actor, with two lines on 'Kojack.' But this way I'm a novelty.''

Mr. Feldman is survived by his wife, Lauretta; his mother, Cecillia, and his sister, Pamela.

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Feldman's on short-list of actors to die (not killed), but die on location, filming a movie! -He died in Mexico City of shellfish poisoning on the last day of filming a scene from "Yellowbeard", in which he was supposed to die. A double completed the death scene. (NT)Tyrone Power, John Candy, Bruce Lee, and Roy Kinnear, are among others to die (not killed) on location.Saturday, December 02, 01:49:01pm


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