July 23rd, 2024

Martin Mull, hip comic and actor from ‘Fernwood 2 Night’ and ‘Roseanne,’ dies at 80

By Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press on June 28, 2024.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Martin Mull, whose droll, esoteric comedy and acting made him a hip sensation in the 1970s and later a beloved guest star on sitcoms including “Roseanne” and “Arrested Development,” has died, his daughter said Friday.

Mull’s Daughter, TV writer and comic artist Maggie Mull, said her father died at home on Thursday after “a valiant fight against a long illness.”

Mull, who was also a guitarist and painter, came to national fame with a recurring role on the Norman Lear-created satirical soap opera “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” and the starring role in its spinoff, “Fernwood 2 Night,” on which he played the host of a satirical talk show.

“He was known for excelling at every creative discipline imaginable and also for doing Red Roof Inn commercials,” Maggie Mull said in an Instagram post. “He would find that joke funny. He was never not funny. My dad will be deeply missed by his wife and daughter, by his friends and coworkers, by fellow artists and comedians and musicians, and – the sign of a truly exceptional person – by many, many dogs.”

Known for his blonde hair and well-trimmed mustache, Mull was born in Chicago, raised in Ohio and Connecticut and studied art in Rhode Island and Rome. He combined his music and comedy in hip Hollywood clubs in the 1970s.

“In 1976 I was a guitar player and sit-down comic appearing at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip when Norman Lear walked in and heard me,” Mull told The Associated Press in 1980. “He cast me as the wife beater on “˜Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.’ Four months later I was spun off on my own show.”

In the 1980s he appeared in films including “Mr. Mom” and “Clue,” and in the 1990s had a recurring role on “Roseanne.”

He would later play private eye Gene Parmesan on “Arrested Development,” and would be nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for a guest turn on “Veep.”

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