Mark Blum, an accomplished, beloved stage actor who also brightened some of the most popular TV shows and movies over the last four decades, has died at the age of 69.
The news was announced on Thursday by Playwright Horizons, a New York-based theater company. “With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week," Playwrights Horizons said in a tweet. "Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you."
SAG-AFRTA executive vice president Rebecca Damon later confirmed his death, noting that Blum had died from complications from coronavirus. Blum served as a board member of the Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA from 2007 to 2013.
Born in Newark, Blum attended the University of Pennsylvania before embarking on acting career on the stage in the 1970s. He would become a fixture in the New York theater community and go on to appear in several Broadway productions, including Lost in Yonkers, The Best Man, and The Assembled Parties, and won an Obie Award for the Playwrights Horizons production of Gus and Al.
The 1980s brought him to the big screen, where he appeared in such films as Lovesick, Desperately Seeking Susan (as Rosanna Arquette's husband), Crocodile Dundee (as the newspaper editor), Blind Date, and The Presidio. He would become a frequent presence on TV, too, starting with guest spots on St. Elsewhere and Miami Vice and continuing into the '90s on Roseanne, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Frasier, The Sopranos, and The West Wing, and into the aughts on The Practice, CSI: Miami, and Fringe. More recently, he had a significant recurring role as the piccolo-playing Union Bob on Mozart in the Jungle, and a recurring role on You as sadistic book store owner Mr. Mooney. Blum — who was married to to actress Janet Zarish — also guest starred on Succession as Bill, retiring head of Waystar Royco's parks division.
Fellow actors took to social media to pay tribute to Blum.
I Want to Acknowledge the Passing of a remarkable Human, fellow actor and friend Mark Blum, who succumbed to Coronavirus. This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones. I remember him as funny warm, loving and... https://t.co/ipPj0eChmI pic.twitter.com/k3BgKZRRa9— Madonna (@Madonna) March 26, 2020
Mark Blum was a dear, kind man, a fiercely talented artist, a good pal. His loss is devastating to all who loved him. Condolences to his family. Our hearts are with them.— Terry Kinney (@RealTerryKinney) March 26, 2020
This plague will pass, but the scars it leaves will be permanent.
Stay safe, friends.
Mark Blum, so generous, so kind, so humble,so talented. Our time together in the play The Assembled Parties at MTC was a true joy— JudithLight (@JudithLight) March 26, 2020
May he rest in peace knowing that he transformed the lives of so many and was cherished by so many; me among them
Sharon Waxman informed me of this very very hard news today I’m so deeply sad for his family and for his fans. he was a wonderful actor and a very good and kind man. May you Rest In Peace and power mark. God bless you. https://t.co/r0QUGEYwVK— Rosanna Arquette🌎✌🏼 (@RoArquette) March 26, 2020