Martin Mull, Comic Actor of ‘Clue,’ ‘Roseanne’ and ‘Arrested Development,’ Dies at 80

The actor’s daughter announced the news Friday, saying he “passed away at home after a valiant fight against a long illness”

Comedian Martin Mull preforms onstage in 1980
Martin Mull performs onstage in Chicago in July 1980 (Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Martin Mull, the droll comic actor best known for his roles in “Clue,” “Roseanne” and “Arrested Development,” died Thursday at age 80.

His daughter, Maggie Mull, shared the news to Instagram on Friday, writing, “I am heartbroken to share that my father passed away at home on June 27th, after a valiant fight against a long illness.”

Maggie, who is a TV writer, added, “He was known for excelling at every creative discipline imaginable and also for doing Red Roof Inn commercials. He would find that joke funny. He was never not funny.”

She added that he will be missed by “his wife and daughter, by his friends and coworkers, by fellow artists and comedians and musicians, and — the sign of a truly exceptional person — by many, many dogs.”

She ended her post with, “I loved him tremendously.”

Mull’s first big break as an actor was playing Garth Gimble on Norman Lear’s soap opera spoof “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” in 1976, which led to roles on spin-offs “Fernwood 2 Night” and “America 2 Night.”

He portrayed Colonel Mustard in the 1985 comedy “Clue” and Teri Garr’s boss in “Mr. Mom.” He also began voicing the ads his daughter mentioned for Red Roof Inn.

His other films include “FM,” “Serial,” Mrs. Doubtfire” and the 1996 live-action “101 Dalmatians.”

He later played Roseanne’s boss Leon Carp, private detective Gene Parmesan on “Arrested Development” and Principal Willard Kraft on the ABC sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” He also found time to voice a hippy who was friends with Homer Simpson’s mother in a 1998 episode of “The Simpsons.”

Mull’s first foray into show business was as a songwriter. He penned the comic tune “A Girl Named Johnny Cash” for Jane Morgan; the song peaked at No. 61 on the country charts. As a solo musician, he opened for such diverse headliners as Randy Newman, Frank Zappa, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

Among those offering their condolences to Maggie Mull on her post was “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Alex Borstein, who wrote, “This blows and I’m sending my best to you and your family and I hope your heart is full of love for him and great memories.”


3 responses to “Martin Mull, Comic Actor of ‘Clue,’ ‘Roseanne’ and ‘Arrested Development,’ Dies at 80”

  1. Chris Avatar

    Tom Bodett said “We’ll leave the light on for you” in Motel 6 commercials.

  2. James davis Avatar

    Rest in Peace Martin, you will be missed.

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