Canadian-born Martin Short began working in the arts in Toronto, Ontario. Short originally had planned to become a social worker, but after he landed a role in a 1972 production of Godspell, he decided to pursue acting. Shortly thereafter, he joined the cast of Second City Television and, later still, Saturday Night Live. After his stint as a cast member on SNL, Short starred in Three Amigos! alongside fellow comedians, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. While well known for his film and tv work, Martin Short is also an accomplished stage actor. He earned a Tony Award for his work in the 1993 Broadway Musical The Goodbye Girl and 1999’s Little Me. Short also lived out one of his childhood dreams by hosting his own talk show The Martin Short Show which ran from 1999 – 2000.
A man of many talents, Short published his memoir in 2014, titled I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend. In the book, he recounts the tale of how a fame-obsessed kid from Canada transformed into one of Hollywood’s favorite comedians. Short earned Canada’s highest honor in 1994 when he was awarded the Order of Canada. He was also inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 2000. Since 2016, Short has teamed up with friend and fellow comedian Steve Martin on a comedy tour. Furthermore, they both currently star in and produce Disney+’s Only Murders in The Building. Here are 10 movies that made Martin Short an all-time comedy legend.
10 The Big Picture
Nick Chapman (Kevin Bacon) is a recent film school graduate with an award-winning student film. After studio executive Allen Habel (J.T. Walsh) promises Nick a feature film, Nick struggles with cow-towing to the studio’s requests and trying to maintain his artistic integrity. Martin Short plays Nick’s obnoxious agent.
Martin Short is expertly paired with the late Charles Grodin and Mary Steenburgen as 11-year-old Clifford. Martin Daniels (Grodin) is tasked with taking care of young Clifford who brings the boy to his home and introduces him to his fiancé Sarah (Steenburgen). Clifford has big plans to live his dream of visiting “Dinosaur World,” which Martin promises to take him to. As plans go sideways, the boy goes to greater and greater lengths to realize his dream, and Martin pays the price with his sanity.
8 Captain Ron
When good-natured family man Martin Harvey (Short) inherits a yacht, he hires low-brow Captain Ron (Kurt Russell) to help him take his family on an adventure vacation. The vacation soon goes south as Captain Ron’s antics get the family into trouble.
7 Pure Luck
Pure Luck tells the tale of Valerie Highsmith (Sheila Kelley) who goes missing while in Mexico. Valerie is notorious for having very bad luck. Her family hires a private investigator Raymond Campagnella (Danny Glover) to help find her. When he is unable to locate her, someone suggests he bring along Eugene Proctor who has equally bad luck as Valerie, the idea being his penchant for bad luck will lead them to the missing girl. Martin Short is nothing short of hilarious in this very physically demanding comedic role.
6 Three Fugitives
Martin Short stars as Ned Perry a mild-mannered single father with a young daughter. His daughter Meg is sick, and Ned, unable to afford the treatment, decides to rob a bank. Ned takes Daniel Lucas (Nick Nolte) hostage. Little does he know, Daniel was recently released from prison for bank robbing. Naturally, the lead detective thinks Lucas is involved and seeks out the three as fugitives. The film is a comedy, however, Short gives a touching performance as a desperate father looking out for his child.
5 Father of the Bride 2
In Father of the Bride 2, George Banks (Steve Martin) is shocked to learn that not only has his daughter become pregnant, but so has his wife. Short reprises his role as Franck Eggelhoffer who has rather conveniently moved from planning weddings to planning baby showers.
4 Three Amigos!
In his first feature film, Martin Short teams up with fellow comedy legends Steve Martin, and Chevy Chase in Three Amigos! Short plays Ned Nederlander a silent actor that does cowboy movies with his partner’s Dusty Bottoms (Chase) and Lucky Day (Martin). The trio is fired when their newest movie tanks. When they receive a phone call for a gig in Mexico, they are quick to act. Once they arrive, however, they realize the young woman who hired them (Patrice Martinez) believes they are actual heroes and enlists them to fend off real-life bad guy El Guapo (Alfonso Arau).
3 Mars Attacks!
Short stars as morally ambiguous White House press secretary Jerry Ross in this Tim Burton masterpiece. As the planet is violently invaded by Martians from Outer Space, Jerry Ross is busy strolling for prostitutes. The Martians quickly learn that Ross’s weakness is women, so they utilize Martian Girl to infiltrate the White House. Ross complacently falls in line with the Martian’s scheme when he segregates Martian Girl to a restricted wing in the White House so he can seduce her.
2 Father of The Bride
Short stars in Father of the Bride as Franck Eggelhoffer, a flamboyant German wedding planner assisting with the wedding of George Banks’ daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams). George resents footing the bill for the extravagant wedding and, coupled with the fear of losing his daughter, he goes a bit insane. However, with the help of his wife and Franck, he begins to make peace with his daughter’s impending marriage. The movie spawned a sequel, Father of the Bride 2, and the quasi-sequel that’s been dubbed Father of the Bride Part 3(ish), which is a Netflix-hosted cast reunion.
Inspired by 1966’s Fantastic Voyage, Innerspace is a science-fiction comedy directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins). In the film, US Navy Aviator Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) submits to a miniaturization experiment in which he will be injected into a rabbit, however, he unwittingly ends up in the body of supermarket clerk Jack Putnam (Short). Efforts by his team to release him from the human, are thwarted by a rival organization that plans to steal the miniaturization technology. Tuck tries to work with Jack to steer him away from danger, so Tuck can escape Jack’s body. Martin Short gives a hilarious performance as the “possessed” host.
The ending of Cobra Kai Season 4 saw a familiar face make a triumphant return.
About The Author