A classically trained artist, Martin fell into acting by stages.
While still a student and struggling artist, Martin began writing songs and performing. First as part of a group called Soop, he performed on one album called In the Soop. Subsequent albums were under his own name, although pianist Ed Wise (who was with MM in the previous group) continued to perform with him.
His break into acting came when Norman Lear offered him a role on the soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. After this character was killed off (followed quickly by the assassination of Mary Hartman itself because star Louise Lasser burned herself out), Lear cast him in another parody, Fernwood 2Night, which poked fun at small-town talk shows. This was set in Fernwood, Ohio, the fictional home of Mary Hartman. For the second season, the show was renamed America 2Night. The locale was changed to a small town near Los Angeles so that big stars could appear on the show from time to time.
After America 2Night, Martin appeared in numerous movies and had a recurring character on Roseanne. Currently he can be seen as the Principal on Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch.
But as far as MM was concerned, this was just a side trip. His real love was, and is, in his painting. If he got some money from his acting or singing/songwriting (one of his songs was covered by Sonic Youth), it was more to buy "more tubes of paint" than anything else.… Expand