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

BlogHub Articles:


By Carol Martinheira on Jul 30, 2020 From The Old Hollywood Garden

FAVORITE ANGRY MAN #6: Juror 1 () On July 30, 2020 By CarolIn Uncategorized As the foreman, Juror 1 () tries his best to keep the peace and remain unbiased. He is also the only one who doesn’t ever explain his reasoning for voting guilty... Read full article

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

See all articles

Martin Balsam Quotes:

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!

Everett Redman: The time has come for us to start making sex films for the family.

Arnold Burns: Murray, you've got a rotten reputation. Even these guys weren't easy to grab. Why do you have to build your own personal blacklist? Why can't you just get blacklisted as a Communist like everybody else?

read more quotes from Martin Balsam...

Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Also a Scorpio

See All Scorpios >>
Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1965

See more Best Supporting Actor awards>>
Martin Balsam Facts
Studied Monkey Kung Fu as a hobby.

Appears to have died of natural causes. A maid found him lying on the floor near his bed in the upscale Residenza Di Ripetta while he was vacationing in Italy.

Won Broadway's 1968 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running."

See All Related Facts >>