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Martin Balsam Overview:

Character actor, Martin Balsam, was born Martin Henry Balsam on Nov 4, 1919 in The Bronx, NY. Balsam appeared in over 170 film and television roles. His best known films include A Thousand Clowns, 12 Angry Men, Psycho, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Cape Fear (1962 and 1991), and Tora Tora Tora. Balsam died at the age of 76 on Feb 13, 1996 in Rome, Italy and was laid to rest in Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus, Bergen County, NJ.


The versatile Martin Balsam was originally of The Method school. Although vividly remembered as the doomed detective in Psycho and in brilliant form opposite Joanne Woodward in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, this native New Yorker, switched easily from character roles to leads and back, but never quite realized his full potential in the cinema. But he did win an Oscar in 1965 for A Thousand Clowns.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



Martin Balsam was nominated for one Academy Award, winning for Best Supporting Actor for A Thousand Clowns (as Arnold Burns) in 1965.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1965Best Supporting ActorA Thousand Clowns (1965)Arnold BurnsWon

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Day 27:

By Jill Blake on Aug 27, 2013 From Sittin' on a Backyard Fence

Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s tribute to Jeanne Crain. Please make sure to check out all the wonderful contributions.? For the next 24 hours, we honor one of the all-time greats: ?. He is way more than “the guy who falls backwards down the stairs in Psyc... Read full article

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Martin Balsam Quotes:

Police Chief Mark Dutton: [Bowden has told Dutton that he's worried about Max Cady] You have a dog don't you, Sam?
Sam Bowden: She couldn't bite through a doughnut; but she's a good barker.
Police Chief Mark Dutton: Well, that's good enough. I'll call you when they pick him up.

Henry Mendez: You can be white, Mexican, or Indian, but I think it pays you to be a white man for a while. Put yourself on the winning side for a change.
John Russell: Is that what you are?
Henry Mendez: Well, a Mexican's closer to it than a White Mountain Apache, I can tell you that!

Police Chief Mark Dutton: Let's make with the pants.

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Wed. 20 Feb. 06:15 PM EST

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Also a Scorpio

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1965

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Martin Balsam Facts
A veteran of the famous Actors Studio in New York.

Part of the drama club at DeWitt Clinton High School, he studied dramatics at The New School in New York City and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Born in The Bronx in New York City to Jewish parents Albert Balsam, a manufacturer of ladies sportswear, and Lillian (née Weinstein). He was the eldest of three children.

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