Martin Mull, comedian who starred in ‘Mary Hartman’, dies at 80

Martin Mull, the comedian, musician and artist who gained widespread attention in the 1970s in shows such as “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and “Fernwood 2-Night” and remained active in television and films for the next half-century, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 80.

His wife, Wendy Mull, confirmed his death. His family said he died after a long illness. No cause was given.

In “Mary Hartman,” Mr. Mull played Garth Gimble, a domestic abuser who died hanging from the star atop an aluminum Christmas tree.

He starred in the show’s later spinoff, “Fernwood 2-Night”, a parody of talk shows that aired in 1977. He played talk-show host Barth Gimble, the twin brother of Garth Gimble.

“With an unassuming blonde mustache that may or may not be intended as a joke, Barth deals in a manic-depressive way with a shaky job situation and some vague allegations about pending charges against him in Florida,” The New York Times wrote in a review of the show’s opening week in 1977. “Barth will say only that his lawyer thinks he has ‘a pretty good case for entrapment.’”

He was also known for his roles in “Clue” (1985) and the television shows “Roseanne” and “Arrested Development.” He also played the character Bob Bradley, The main character’s colleague in the political sitcom “Veep.”

More recently, Mr. Mull has appeared in the Fox television series “The Cool Kids,” The story is about a group of rule-breaking friends living in a retirement community.

Martin E. Mull was born in Chicago to Harold and Betty Mull on August 18, 1943. He earned a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. his work Exhibited in gallery shows and at the Whitney and Metropolitan museums.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Maggie Mull.

In a 2018 interview with The Times, he described his approach to his art as, “I go back and find old Life and Look magazines, people’s family photos and things like that, and then make collages from them, create my own images and then paint them.”

A full obituary will follow.

Alain Delaquerrière Contributed to research.


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