Martin Henry Balsam (November 4, 1919 – February 13, 1996) was an American actor. He is known for his Oscar-winning role as Arnold Burns inA Thousand Clowns and his role as Detective Milton Arbogast in Psycho.
Martin Balsam was born in The Bronx borough of New York City to Jewish parents, Lillian (née Weinstein) and Albert Balsam, who was a manufacturer of ladies sportswear. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School, where he participated in the drama club. He studied at theDramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator and then served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
Martin Balsam made his professional debut in August 1941 in a production of The Play's the Thing in Locust Valley. In early 1948, he was selected by Elia Kazan to be a member in the recently formed Actors Studio. Balsam would go on to perform in several episodes of the Studio's dramatic television anthology series, broadcast between September 1948 and 1950. He appeared in many other television drama series, including Decoy with Beverly Garland, The Twilight Zone (episodes "The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine" and "The New Exhibit"), as a psychologist in the pilot episode, Five Fingers, Target: The Corruptors!, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Fugitive, and Mr. Broadway, as a retired U.N.C.L.E. agent in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode, "The Odd Man Affair", and guest starred in the two-part Murder, She Wrote episode, "Death Stalks the Big Top". He also appeared in the "Route 66" episode, "Somehow it Gets to be Tomorrow".
Balsam appeared in such films as On the Waterfront, 12 Angry Men (as Juror #1), Time Limit, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Carpetbaggers, Seven Days in May, The Anderson Tapes, Hombre,Catch-22, Tora! Tora! Tora! (as Admiral Husband E. Kimmel), Little Big Man, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, All the President's Men, Murder on the Orient Express,The Delta Force, andThe Goodbye People.
In 1960, he appeared in one of his most famous roles as Detective Arbogast in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho.
Along with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, Martin Balsam appeared in both the original Cape Fear (1962), and the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake.
In 1965, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Arnold Burns in A Thousand Clowns. In 1968, he won a Tony Award for his appearance in the 1967 Broadwayproduction of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.
Balsam played Washington Post editor Howard Simons in the 1976 blockbuster All the President's Men. He also appeared in a film that eventually became a highly popular Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, the 1975 Joe Don Baker police drama Mitchell. In 1973, he played Dr. Rudy Wells when the Martin Caidin novel Cyborg was adapted as the TV-movie, The Six Million Dollar Man, though he did not reprise the role for the subsequent weekly series. He appeared as a spokesman/hostage in the 1976 TV movie Raid on Entebbe and as a detective in the 1977 TV movieContract on Cherry Street. He also appeared on an episode of Quincy ME. Balsam starred as Murray Klein on the All in the Family spin-off Archie Bunker's Place for two seasons (1979–1981). He even filled in for Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game for one question when Reilly was late for a taping.
In 1951, Balsam married his first wife, actress Pearl Somner. They divorced three years later. His second wife was actress Joyce Van Patten. This marriage lasted for four years (from 1958 until 1962) and had one daughter, Talia Balsam. He married his third wife, Irene Miller, in 1963. They divorced in 1987 and had two children, Adam and Zoe Balsam.
On February 13, 1996, Balsam died in Rome, Italy, of a heart attack at the age of 76. He is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey. He was survived by his three children and Renee Landau, his companion.