Marty Feldman

Biography: "I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up," he told a reporter-- a week before he died. This zany comedian, who poked fun at himself as well as others, was born Marty Feldman, on July 8, 1933, in London, England. The son of immigrants from Kiev, Marty spent his childhood in the poverty-stricken London East End and left school at the age of 15, hoping for a career as a jazz trumpeter (his appearance in a Variety show earned him the title "the worst trumpeter in the world"). He had just started his comedy career, as a writer for BBC radio programs and TV shows in the late 1950s, when he married Lauretta Sullivan in January 1959 (they would stay married until his death in 1982). There's a saying: "Your face is your fortune"; Marty had received a double-whammy. His nose was mangled in his youthful years in a boxing match; his walleyed orbs were the result of both a hyperactive thyroid and a botched operation after a car accident before his 30th birthday, in 1963."I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up," he told a reporter-- a week before he died. This zany comedian, who poked fun at himself as well as others, was born Marty Feldman, on July 8, 1933, in London, England. The son of immigrants from Kiev, Marty spent his childhood in the poverty-stricken London East End and left school at the age of 15, hoping for a career as a jazz trumpeter (his appearance in a Variety show earned him the title "the worst trumpeter in the world"). He had just started his comedy career, as a writer for BBC radio programs and TV shows in the late 1950s, when he married Lauretta Sullivan in January 1959 (they would stay married until his death in 1982). There's a saying: "Your face is your fortune"; Marty had received a double-whammy. His nose was mangled in his youthful years in a boxing match; his walleyed orbs were the result of both a hyperactive thyroid and a botched operation after a car accident before his 30th birthday, in 1963. American audiences first saw Marty in "Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers" (1968), where he did comedy skits with the Golddiggers. Unfortunately, with Marty Feldman's crazy behavior, and his anything-for-a-laugh attitude, he sometimes went too far, and people's feelings got hurt. To quote from the book "Backstage at the Dean Martin Show" (page 108)... "Marty would go absolutely berserk as soon as the cameras rolled, especially if there was a studio audience to react to. In a sketch that called for him to remove all of Susie Lund's makeup (deliberately heavy) as well as her dress (a breakaway that would reveal her in scanties), he almost ripped her real eyelashes off in his wild abandon. Each take was followed by poor Susie having to go back into the makeup room to have everything, including the heavy lashes, put back on. After hearing the wardrobe department warn him that he would have to pull Susie's dress at a certain spot (a brooch at the top of her cleavage), he wickedly pulled it everywhere else and eventually tore it all off, leaving Susie stark-naked in front of the studio audience. As this was a British audience, they loved it. Susie was in tears and refused to do it again." Marty Feldman appeared in a number of movies, his most-remembered role being that of Ygor (pronounced: Eye-gor) in "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Besides acting, he made his directorial debut in "The Last Remake of Beau Geste" (1977). Busy and popular, it seemed Marty was to enjoy a long career in the entertainment field. However, he died of a massive heart attack, caused by shellfish food poisoning, while filming "Yellowbeard" (released 1983) in Mexico City, on December 2, 1982 -- he was only 49. * Expand