Mark Blum Remembered by Co-Stars Madonna, Rosanna Arquette: ‘A Remarkable Human’

The “Desperately Seeking Susan” actor died Wednesday of complications from coronavirus at age 69

Mark Blum Desperately Seeking Susan
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Stars of the screen and the stage like Madonna, Rosanna Arquette, Bernadette Peters and many more paid their respects Thursday to veteran actor Mark Blum, who died Wednesday due to complications from the coronavirus.

Blum’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” co-stars shared their memories of who they called a “remarkable human” and a “great actor.”

“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,” Madonna said in an Instagram post Thursday. “I remember him as funny warm, loving .and professional when we made ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ in 1985!! Another reminder that this virus is no joke, nothing to be casual about or pretend wont affect us in some way.”

“I’m sad about this. He was really very kind, was always supportive and funny, a gentle man and a great actor who loved the work,” Arquette, who also shared a promotional wedding photo of herself and her onscreen husband, told TheWrap. “I’m so sad for his family and all the people who love him. This is a tragedy on so many levels. Rest in peace and power Mark Blum.”

In addition to his onscreen roles, Blum was also a fixture in the New York theater community, and numerous luminaries of the stage such as Judith Light and Bernadette Peters also spoke glowingly of his contributions to Broadway.

“I am so devastated by Mark Blum’s passing. His performances in the dozens of plays I saw him in were unfailingly deep, subtle, hilarious and moving in equal measure,” Cynthia Nixon said. “Seeing his name in the Playbill always meant you were in for a treat. Also just one of the loveliest humans ever.”

“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,” Light said in a tweet. “May he rest in peace knowing that he transformed the lives of so many and was cherished by so many; me among them.”

“Mark Blum RIP. So sad to lose you to this horrid crisis!” Peters wrote.

James Van Der Beek starred with Blum in a stage production, he said, the day after wrapping “Dawson’s Creek” in 1997 and learned from him about how to be an actor.

“He was SO good… and generous and kind and I learned so much from him about how to be a professional – lessons that got me through the insanity that was to come. Prayers for his family,” Van Der Beek said.

Even “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn had a story about Blum, saying that Blum was his brother’s first boss when they moved to New York City.

“He was full of hilarious stories about this insane business and was always so kind to my brothers and me, back when we had nothing. Thank you, Mark. RIP,” Gunn said.

Blum appeared in the Amazon show “Mozart in the Jungle” with Peters and Malcolm McDowell, who also paid tribute Thursday. McDowell called him a “truly wonderful actor, but more importantly, was a funny sensitive, and beautiful man.”

SAG-AFTRA and president Gabrielle Carteris also issued a statement remembering Blum’s career. Blum was a former member of the union’s national board and the New York branch’s board.

SAG-AFTRA mourns the passing of New York actor Mark Blum, a former National Board member and New York Board member. Blum passed away at the age of 69 due to complications from COVID-19.

Blum, who joined the union in 1978 and became known for roles in Crocodile Dundee and Desperately Seeking Susan, had a prolific career on screen and stage. The Obie Award-winning actor was also an ardent supporter of his union; he served as a Screen Actors Guild New York Board member from 2007 to 2013, was elected for a three-year term to the National Board in 2008, and served as an alternate member in 2007 and 2011. Additionally, he served on dozens of national committees over the years, including the SAGindie, Organizing, Agent Relations and various contract committees.

“This is a painful loss to our SAG-AFTRA family,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said. “Mark Blum understood that all performers working in this industry share the same employers and that our strength depends on our unity. He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones.”

SAG-AFTRA executive vice president and New York local president Rebecca Damon added, “Mark Blum was a passionate champion for merger and a tireless advocate for members. Those of us lucky enough to have known him will treasure our memories of a gifted actor, a master teacher, a loyal friend and a beautiful human. I always appreciated Mark’s clear perception of complex situations. Mark was smart, funny and a true actor’s actor.”

Blum is survived by his wife, actress Janet Zarish.

See some of the Twitter love for Blum below: