Mark Blum, Obie-Winning Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 69

Obituaries   Mark Blum, Obie-Winning Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 69
 
His Broadway career spanned nearly 40 years.
Mark Blum_Obit Graphic_HR

Mark Blum, the ever-busy New York actor whose final Broadway appearance was in 2013 in Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties, has died at the age of 69 following complications from the coronavirus.

Born May 14, 1950, in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Blum made his Broadway debut in 1977 in Arnold Wesker's The Merchant and was subsequently seen in Lost in Yonkers, My Thing of Love, A Thousand Clowns, The Graduate, and Twelve Angry Man. He had the distinction of appearing in both Broadway revivals of Gore Vidal's The Best Man: He originated the role of campaign manager Dick Jensen in the 2000 revival and took over that same part in the 2012 revival, succeeding an injured Michael McKean.

Spalding Gray, Mark Blum and Charles Durning in the 2000 revival of <i>The Best Man</i>
Spalding Gray, Mark Blum and Charles Durning in the 2000 revival of The Best Man Peter Cunningham

In the July 2012 issue of Playbill, the actor spoke about appearing in both revivals of the Gore Vidal play, explaining, "It feels a little like a dream where you think it's supposed to go in a certain way, but you look around and all the people are different. I open a door, and Angela Lansbury walks in instead of Elizabeth Ashley. I open another door, and it's James Earl Jones, not Charles Durning. It feels like I'm hallucinating instead of acting."

An Obie winner for his performance in Gus and Al, Mr. Blum's Off-Broadway credits were numerous and included roles in Fern Hill, Amy and the Orphans, Rancho Viejo, The Model Apartment, The Good Mother, Lonely, I'm Not, We Live Here, Picked, After the Revolution, The Singing Forest, Mourning Becomes Electra, Buffalo Gal, The Music Teacher, The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Waverly Gallery, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks," Laureen's Whereabouts, Little Footsteps, It's Only a Play, Messiah, Key Exchange, Table Settings, Say Goodnight Gracie, The World of Sholom Aleichem, and The Cherry Orchard.

Among his over 80 screen credits were the films Crocodile Dundee, Desperately Seeking Susan, and Shattered Glass. On TV, he was seen in Sweet Surrender, Capital News, NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, Law & Order, Mozart in the Jungle, You, and Billions.

Mr. Blum was also a Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA board member, serving from 2007–2013.

He is survived by his wife, Janet Zarish.

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