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:
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 wonderful, stalwart actor–a familiar face to anyone who watches TV, and a mainstay, for decades, of dozens of New York stage productions. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/2wCSVZ7gDF
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) March 26, 2020
My uncle, Mark Blum, has been known on stage by many names to many people over the years. But to me, he was just Uncle Mark. As you can imagine, my family is devastated. Reading tweets and seeing how many people loved & respected him is more special than you will ever know. pic.twitter.com/PaB5X401Vq
— Awkward-ish (@awkward_ish) March 26, 2020
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
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. Seeing his name in the Playbill always meant you were in for a treat. Also just one of the loveliest humans ever. pic.twitter.com/vC5rlpRJtq
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 26, 2020
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
May he rest in peace knowing that he transformed the lives of so many and was cherished by so many; me among them
— JudithLight (@JudithLight) March 26, 2020
When I was in drama school Mark Blum was exactly the kind of actor I aspired to be: constantly employed, deeply respected, total mensch. Gutted to hear of his passing. His wife Janet Zarish was my acting teacher at NYU. They were the loveliest couple. My heart breaks for her. https://t.co/J7MvHutdge
— Josh Radnor (@JoshRadnor) March 26, 2020
Oh this is devastating. The brilliant and generous Mark Blum was such a life giving force in New York theater. We will miss you dearly. https://t.co/yrUkQ6rXOo
— Heidi Schreck (@heidibschreck) March 26, 2020
So sad to say goodbye to my dear friend, Mark Blum. Will miss him forever. A very good man.
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) March 26, 2020
One of our family of Mozart in the Jungle passed this morning from the corona virus. Mark Blum was a truly wonderful actor, but more importantly, was a funny sensitive, and beautiful man. RIP. – Malcolm pic.twitter.com/fapOBe6WYp
— Malcolm McDowell (@McDowellMalc) 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.
This plague will pass, but the scars it leaves will be permanent.
Stay safe, friends.
— Terry Kinney (@RealTerryKinney) March 26, 2020
Mark Blum RIP. So sad to lose you to this horrid crisis!💔💔
— Bernadette Peters (@OfficialBPeters) March 26, 2020
The great theatre actor Mark Blum has passed away from coronavirus. I loved so many of his performances over the years, especially in The Assembled Parties. He was known as one of the nicest guys in the business. My heart goes out to his friends, family, students & colleagues. 💔 pic.twitter.com/sp7tbVjlTh
— Jennifer Tepper (@jenashtep) March 26, 2020
Mark Blum was beloved by actors, writers, theater folk, tv and movie people. As a New York stalwart, he of course appeared on L&O, SVU, and Crim Intent. I was lucky to work with him several times, and luckier to know him. Sending love to all who mourn his loss. https://t.co/AbigByIye5
— Warren Leight (@warrenleightTV) March 26, 2020
Mark Blum was in my 1st TV pilot, Gloria Vane. In a gallery of Hollywood loons, he played the one sane, funny mensch, which was definitely typecasting. He was just as wonderful in Frasier & in DH Pierce's production of Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike. He has died of coronavirus.💔 pic.twitter.com/Qr1Wxt99SD
— Joe Keenan (@MrJoeKeenan) March 26, 2020
Mark Blum was consistently a great actor and a finer man. We met when I moved to NY & were briefly TV married in 1987. Last Xmas we caught up for over an hour at a party and he was still kind and hilariously sardonic. I adored him. My heart breaks for his beautiful wife Janet. pic.twitter.com/uRT136B3Ma
— Dana Delany (@DanaDelany) March 26, 2020
There are actors whose names appear in the announcement of a play, and you instantly think, without knowing any details: This will be work worth seeing. Mark Blum was of that wonderful caliber. Made me believe, every time I saw him. It's terrible to read of his death.
— Peter Marks (@petermarksdrama) March 26, 2020
8 years ago Mark Blum played my deadbeat dad in the play Lonely, I’m Not, but he was the complete opposite in real life – generous, patient, funny. I was terrified to do live theater for the first time and he was as much a great teacher (mostly by example)… pic.twitter.com/ZJYmmHkkYC
— Topher Grace (@TopherGrace) March 26, 2020
I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Mark Blum. He was a wonderful and gifted actor and a truly lovely human being. My friends and I will all miss him.
— Lewis Black (@TheLewisBlack) March 26, 2020
We will never stop missing him.
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) March 26, 2020