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Beloved Stage Actor Mark Blum Dies of Coronavirus Complications at 69

Blum worked at nearly every off-Broadway theater across New York City.

Mark Blum has died at the age of 69.
(© David Gordon)

Beloved stage actor Mark Blum has died of complications from the coronavirus, according to published reports. Blum was 69.

A New Jersey native, Blum was known for films like Desperately Seeking Susan (as Gary Glass), Crocodile Dundee (as Richard Mason), as well as the roles of Mr. Mooney on You and piccolo player Union Bob on Mozart in the Jungle.

But Blum's bread and butter was the theater. He received a BA in theater from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in acting from the University of Minnesota. He made his Broadway debut in 1977's short-lived The Merchant, and followed that up with originating the role of Eddie in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. He played the same character, Dick Jensen, in two different Broadway revivals of Gore Vidal's The Best Man (2000 and 2012). His last Broadway appearance was in Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties in 2013.

Over the course of his career, Blum worked at just about every off-Broadway production company in New York City. His résumé counts multiple appearances at Playwrights Horizons (he won a 1989 Obie for Gus and All, and starred in After the Revolution and Rancho Viejo recently), the Vineyard Theatre (Picked and The Long Christmas Ride Home), Manhattan Theatre Club (It's Only a Play, We Live Here), and Roundabout Theatre Company (most recently, Amy and the Orphans in 2018), among scores of others.

Blum's last New York stage job came in Fern Hill at 59E59 last fall, and he was scheduled to play Professor Serebryakov in Uncle Vanya at Berkshire Theatre Group this summer. A longtime professor of acting, Blum also taught at Brooklyn College.

He is survived by his wife, actor Janet Zarish, as well as his mother, Lorraine, and sister, Nancy.

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