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Day 27: Martin Balsam

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: Martin Balsam. He is way more than “the guy who falls backwards down the stairs in Psycho.”

Here is some trivia on Martin Balsam:

  • Balsam was a stage actor who worked on Broadway throughout the 1940s. During WWII he served in the US Army. Upon his return, he was in productions such as Lamp at Midnight, Macbeth and The Closing Door (TCMDB)
  • Balsam made his uncredited film debut in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront in 1954. (IMDB)
  • In 1956, Paddy Chayefsky’s Middle of the Night opened on Broadway with Edward G. Robinson and Gena Rowland in the lead roles. Balsam co-starred as the son-in-law. He would later reprise his role in the film adaptation starring Fredric March and Kim Novak. (Google Books)
  • Balsam won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in A Thousand Clowns. (IMDB)
Martin Balsam in <em>The Anderson Tapes</em>
Martin Balsam in The Anderson Tapes

On to the blogging…

John Greco from Twenty Four Frames returns with a wonderful essay on Al Capone (1959)

2012 Blogathon alum Toby from Toobworld joins us again this year with a look at Balsam’s performance in Little Big Man: The Legend of Allardyce T. Meriweather 

Over at Tales of the Easily Distracted, Dorian looks at the “Armed and Dangerous Strangers on a Train” of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

With one last blogathon go-round, Sean from The Joy and Agony of Movies offers his keen insight on Balsam in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

And now it’s Meaghan’s turn at The Moviola, with a look at Balsam in Mitchell!

There’s more to come, so stay tuned!

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Michael at @scribehard
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Jill Blake

Jill Blake is the owner of the classic film website Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. She is also a co-founder and editor of the film site The Black Maria and film editor at CC2K. In 2012, she was interviewed on-air by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. In 2013, she was a featured guest on the TCM podcast. In her spare time Jill is a stay-at-home mom, wife, fried okra connoisseur, and the neighborhood’s own L.B. Jeffries.


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