Veteran stage and screen actor Mark Blum has died from complications of coronavirus.
Blum, known for his work in movies like “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Crocodile Dundee,” as well as a host of Broadway and off-Broadway theater productions and television works, was 69. He is survived by his wife, actress Janet Zarish.
Rebecca Damon, vice president of SAG-AFTRA, confirmed Blum’s death: ”It is with such deep sorrow that I’m writing to share the news that our friend and former board member Mark Blum has passed away as a result of complications from the coronavirus.”
News of Blum’s death follows the announcement Tuesday of the coronavirus-related death of Broadway playwright Terrence McNally.
Blum made his Broadway debut in 1977’s “The Merchant” and appeared in works ranging from “Lost in Yonkers” to both revivals of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.”
His last appearance on the Great White Way was in 2013’s “The Assembled Parties.”
An actor to the end, his last off-Broadway appearance was in September’s “Fern Hill.”
On the silver screen, he was known for “Crocodile Dundee,” “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Shattered Glass,” and was a staple on television, including a recent role in the thriller “You” as bookshop owner Mr. Moody. He also was featured on “Fraiser,” Hulu’s ”Mozart in the Jungle” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” among many others.
Outpourings of love peppered social media Thursday morning as news of Blum’s death spread.
Playwrights Horizons announced his death on Twitter, saying, “With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week. Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you.”
Damon’s tribute to Blum continued: “Mark was a dedicated Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA board member serving from 2007-2013, a passionate champion for merger, and a tireless advocate for members. Those of us lucky enough to have known him will treasure our memories of a gifted actor, a master teacher, a loyal friend and a beautiful human.
“On a personal note — I always appreciated Mark’s clear perception of complex situations. He always spoke the truth and did a great service in informing members of our community about the ins and outs of the union whenever he had the opportunity.
“Mark was smart, funny, and a true actor’s actor. He will be deeply missed. Thinking of you all. Please #stayhome. #COVID19”
Actress Judith Light tweeted, “Mark Blum, so generous, so kind, so humble, so talented. Our time together in the play ‘The Assembled Parties’ at MTC was a true joy. May he rest in peace knowing that he transformed the lives of so many and was cherished by so many; me among them.”
Actor Josh Radnor said, “When I was in drama school Mark Blum was exactly the kind of actor I aspired to be: constantly employed, deeply respected, total mensch. Gutted to hear of his passing. His wife Janet Zarish was my acting teacher at NYU. They were the loveliest couple. My heart breaks for her.”
Playwright Heidi Schreck wrote, “Oh this is devastating. The brilliant and generous Mark Blum was such a life giving force in New York theater. We will miss you dearly.”
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