Mardik Martin, ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Raging Bull’ Co-Writer, Dies at 84

Martin was a longtime friend and collaborator of Martin Scorsese

Last Updated: September 12, 2019 @ 2:38 PM

Mardik Martin, a longtime friend and collaborator of Martin Scorsese whose writing credits included “Mean Streets,” “New York, New York,” and “Raging Bull,” died Wednesday from undisclosed causes. He was 84.

The Armenian Film Society first announced the news Wednesday afternoon.

Scorsese released a statement on Martin’s passing: “We met at NYU, or Washington Square College as it was called back in the early 60s. For a time, we were inseparable. We went to see movies together, we talked about them endlessly, and then we started dreaming up the pictures we were going to make — in diner booths and on benches in Washington Square Park, walking the streets of lower Manhattan or driving around the city, in hot and cold weather, in sunshine and in rain and snow, by night and by day…that was me and my old friend Mardik Martin, now gone. He was my first close collaborator and he was my dear friend, and in the end the friendship and the collaboration were one and the same. No pulling them apart. As I said, we both dreamed of making movies, and if we’d never met we both would have found our way. But we did meet, for which I’ll always be thankful.”

“My friend and colleague Mardik Martin died this morning,” former WGA West president Howard A. Rodman, said Wednesday night. “To say that Mardik was one of a kind is a wild understatement. No one–no one–will ever fill those shoes. May he rest in well-earned peace.”

Mardik’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

Born in Iran to an Armenian family and raised in Iraq, Martin immigrated from Iraq to the United States as a young man. He received a master’s degree in 1968 from New York University and subsequently taught at the school, during which time he befriended Martin Scorsese. The two would work on multiple film projects together, co-writing “Mean Streets” in 1973.

Martin co-wrote two other Scorsese-directed films: 1977’s “New York, New York” (written with Earl Mac Rauch) and 1980’s “Raging Bull” (written with Paul Schrader). He also wrote 1977’s “Valentino” with Ken Russell, who also directed the film.

In 2014, Martin co-wrote the screenplay of the German film “The Cut” about the Armenian Genocide. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Martin also taught screenwriting at USC, and was remembered for it by his former student, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski.

“Mardik was my screenwriting teacher at USC. A great guy. A great writer,” Karaszewski said.

For the record: Due to a birth date error in his biography, a previous version of this story listed Martin’s age as 82.