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Andrea Martin (born 15 January 1947; age 77) is the Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actress, comedienne, voice actress and writer who originated the role of Ishka in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine third season episode "Family Business". She is perhaps best known for her work on the sketch comedy television series Second City Television (SCTV). She is also known for her roles in the 1974 horror film Black Christmas and the 2002 romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as well as for her performances on Broadway.

Martin was heavily made up to appear as an older Ferengi female, though she is only a few years older than Armin Shimerman, who played her character's son, Quark. According to Shimerman, Martin declined to return in later episodes due to the uncomfortable prosthetics necessary for her character. (DS9 Season 5 DVD, Special "Hidden File 08")

Early life and career[]

Martin was born in Portland, Maine. She made her professional acting debut at the age of 13, playing Liat in the musical South Pacific at Maine's Kennebunkport Playhouse. When she was 17, she appeared in a short film called It's Not Just You, Murray!, which was written and directed by a then-unknown student filmmaker named Martin Scorsese.

After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, Martin relocated to New York City. With her first audition, she won the role of Lucy in a Canadian touring company's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. One of her co-stars on this show was Star Trek: Voyager guest actor Derek McGrath, with whom Martin became romantically involved. After the show ended, Martin returned to New York but took so many trips to visit McGrath in Canada that she ultimately decided to live there.[1]

Both Martin and well-known comic actor Eugene Levy made their feature film debuts in filmmaker Ivan Reitman's first feature-length project, the 1971 comedy Foxy Lady. Reitman subsequently cast Martin and Levy in the leads of his second directorial effort, the 1973 horror comedy Cannibal Girls. For her work in this film, Martin won the Medalla Sitges en Plata de Ley from the Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival. Martin's first mainstream film role was that of sorority sister "Phyl" in the 1974 horror classic Black Christmas.

In 1972, Martin was cast in the landmark Toronto production of the musical Godspell, which starred Victor Garber. Others who performed in this production included Jayne Eastwood, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, and the aforementioned Eugene Levy – all of whom went on to co-star with Martin on Second City Television.

The Second City years[]

Martin performed on and wrote skits for Second City Television (SCTV) for its entire run, from 1976 through 1984. The premise for the show is that it is set in an independent television station which produces its own cheap local programming. Martin, like the rest of the cast, performed a wide range of characters on the show, most notably bossy station manager Edith Prickley.

SCTV first aired on television networks in Canada and in syndication in the United States before moving to NBC in 1981 with the title SCTV Network 90 (and later SCTV Network). Between 1982 and 1983, Martin shared nine Emmy Award nominations as a writer on the show, winning two. She also received a nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series in 1982. NBC canceled the series in 1983, after which it spent one last season on Cinemax (as SCTV Channel) before ceasing production.

There were no episodes of SCTV produced during the 1979-1980 television season. During this break in filming, Martin took a role in Wholly Moses! (1980, with Michael Champion, David L. Lander, and the voice of Walker Edmiston). In 1981, Martin participated in the variety TV special Anson and Lorrie, which was co-hosted by Anson Williams. Martin also co-starred with Saul Rubinek, Gerrit Graham, and Richard Libertini in Soup for One (1982).

Late 1980s[]

Although SCTV ended in 1984, Martin and her Second City castmates have continued to work together over the years. Most of the SCTV team, including Martin, participated in Martin Short's "Concert for the North Americas" in 1985. The following year, Martin and several other Second City alumni were seen in the comedy film Club Paradise, directed and co-written by Harold Ramis (himself a part of the original SCTV cast). Fellow Star Trek performers Joanna Cassidy, Antoinette Bower, and Bruce McGill also had roles in this film.

In 1987, Martin and SCTV co-star Joe Flaherty made cameos in Innerspace (1987), with Henry Gibson, Richard McGonagle, Dick Miller, Wendy Schaal, William Schallert, Mark L. Taylor, Kenneth Tobey, and Voyager regular Robert Picardo. The Director of Photography for Innerspace was Andrew Laszlo, who was also cinematographer on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Jerry Goldsmith was the film's composer.

In 1988, Martin filmed the role of Toots in the comedy Boris and Natasha, which starred Dave Thomas as Boris and featured John Candy in a supporting role. Sally Kellerman also starred in this film (as Natasha), while Larry Cedar, Sid Haig, and Christopher Neame had supporting roles. Though shot in 1988, the film was not released until 1992, when it went straight to video.

Martin and SCTV cohorts Short, Flaherty, and Catherine O'Hara all lent their voices to the 1988-1989 animated series The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, based on Short's SCTV and Saturday Night Live character, Ed Grimley. Frank Welker also did voice work on this series, which aired on NBC. Martin also voiced several characters on the cartoon series Camp Candy, starring SCTV alum John Candy.

Outside of her collaborations and appearances with members of the Second City troupe, Martin made two back-to-back guest appearances on the sitcom Kate & Alley, along with Bill Cobbs. Martin also briefly had her own series, CBS' Roxie, in 1987. In 1989, she appeared in the films Rude Awakening (with Dion Anderson, Cliff DeYoung, and Julia Rose) and Worth Winning (with Meg Wyllie and costume designs by Robert Blackman).

In 1989, Martin starred in her own TV special, Andrea Martin… Together Again. Many of her SCTV co-stars joined her for the show, performing in various skits. Martin earned an American Comedy Award nomination for her performance on the special.


Martin appeared in several films during the 1990s, beginning with Too Much Sun (1990, co-starring Heidi Swedberg), All I Want for Christmas (1991, with production designed by Herman Zimmerman), Ted & Venus (1991, with Lily Mariye, Carol Kane, Tricia O'Neil, Vincent Schiavelli, and Brian Thompson). Later in the decade, she had supporting roles in Bogus (1996, starring Whoopi Goldberg) and Barry Levinson's Wag the Dog (1997, with Geoffrey Blake, John Cho, Kirsten Dunst, J. Patrick McCormack, Phil Morris, Suzie Plakson, Rick Scarry, and Jack Shearer).

In 1992, Martin made her Broadway debut as Alice Miller in the musical My Favorite Year, for which she won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She also won a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award for her performance in this production. Running for only 36 performances, My Favorite Year also featured Voyager regular Ethan Phillips in the cast. In 1996, she starred in a one-woman show which she wrote called Nude Nude Totally Nude, for which she earned another Drama Desk nomination. Martin returned to the Broadway stage in a 1997 revival of Candide, again earning a Tony Award nomination as well as a Drama Desk nomination.

On television, Martin was a regular cast member on a few short-lived series. She again worked with Martin Short on NBC's The Martin Short Show, on which fellow Deep Space Nine veteran Noley Thornton was also a regular. She later starred in Life... and Stuff (1997) alongside David Bowe, who also appeared on Deep Space Nine. Martin then became a cast member on the FOX show Damon, which aired for seven episodes in 1998. In addition, Martin made guest appearances on programs such as Mad TV (starring Debra Wilson), Meego (with Ed Begley, Jr.), and Norm (with Nikki Cox and Holmes R. Osborne). She also acted in such TV movies as Gypsy (1993, with Keene Curtis), In Search of Dr. Seuss (1994, with Matt Frewer, Graham Jarvis, Christopher Lloyd, David Paymer and Star Trek: The Next Generation's Patrick Stewart), and Harrison Bergeron (1995, with Christopher Plummer and Second City alumni Eugene Levy and Jayne Eastwood).

Voice-over work[]

Martin lent her voices to various animated films and television shows during the 1990s. She was the voice of Aunt Miriam on the Nickelodeon series Rugrats and the 1998 feature The Rugrats Movie. Both featured the voice of Michael Bell, while the film also had Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Jay, and Iggy Pop. Martin was a voice in Anastasia (1999) and Bartok the Magnificent (1999). Kelsey Grammer also voiced in both of these films, while Anastasia featured the voices of Kirsten Dunst and Christopher Lloyd.

In addition, Martin was the voice of the villainous Queen Slug-for-a-Butt on the 1995-1996 series Earthworm Jim, which also featured the voice of John Kassir. On Disney's Recess, Martin voiced Lunchlady Harriet while other characters were voiced by the likes of Rickey D'Shon Collins, Pamela Segall, Wallace Shawn, and Frank Welker. Other series to which Martin has lent her voice include Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Batman: The Animated Series (with Loren Lester), Superman: The Animated Series (with Carolyn Seymour, Clancy Brown, Clyde Kusatsu, Charles Napier, Michael Dorn, and Victor Brandt), Duckman (starring the voice of Jason Alexander), The Wild Thornberrys, and The Simpsons (as the mother of Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu).


Live-action work[]

Martin played a professor in Loser (2000, with Andy Dick and Scott Thomson), followed by a supporting role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). Perhaps her most well-known role in recent years is that of Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002, featuring Bruce Gray). Martin reprised her role as Voula in the short-lived TV series spin-off, My Big Fat Greek Life.

Martin's collaboration with her Second City castmates continued into the new millennium. She made two appearances on Martin Short's comic talk show Primetime Glick, on which Michael McKean was the only other regular. She also co-starred with Martin in the 2001 Hallmark TV movie Prince Charming. In addition, Martin and Eugene Levy were both featured in the 2004 film New York Minute.

Her subsequent film credits have included The Producers (again working in a production with Michael McKean, as well as David Huddleston and Ruth Williamson), The TV Set (with Willie Garson), and How to Eat Fried Worms (with Clint Howard). She also had a role in the 2006 remake of the horror film Black Christmas, having been a cast member on the original. On television, Martin made guest appearances on such shows as Ed (with Mike Starr), Crossing Jordan}} (starring Miguel Ferrer, in an episode with Robert Picardo), Kitchen Confidential (with John Cho and Frank Langella), Cracking Up (with Christopher McDonald), and Nurse Jackie.

Voice-over work[]

Martin continued providing voice-overs in numerous productions over the next decade. Perhaps her most notable voice-over role is that of Jimmy Neutron's teacher, Miss Winifred Fowl, in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001) and its subsequent TV spin-off, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The film also featured the voices of David L. Lander, Frank Welker, and Patrick Stewart (as well as Martin Short). Welker returned for the series, as well.

In 2000, Martin was again heard on the animated Superman series, reprising her earlier role as Mad Harriet. This time, she voiced in two-episode story arc that also featured the voices of Clancy Brown, Michael Dorn, and Charles Napier. Martin also resumed her Recess character of Lunchlady Harriet in the 2001 animated film, Recess: School's Out. Clancy Brown also had a voice-over role in the movie, as did Diedrich Bader, Rickey D'Shon Collins, Ron Glass, Tony Jay, Clyde Kusatsu, and Paul Willson.

Martin and Star Trek: The Original Series star William Shatner (as well as Second City co-star Eugene Levy) all lent their voices to the 2001 Showtime movie Gahan Wilson's The Kid. Martin later joined Second City cohorts Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, and Catherine O'Hara as voice performers on Disney's 2006 direct-to-DVD release Brother Bear 2. She also had a recurring voice-over role as Mrs. Stoppable on the Disney series Kim Possible, working with Diedrich Bader, Clancy Brown, Gary Cole, Brian George, Christopher McDonald, Jason Marsden, Ron Perlman, and George Takei.

Stage work[]

In 2002, Martin portrayed Aunt Eller in a Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, for which she received nominations from the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards. She then performed in the off-Broadway production of The Exonerated; others who participated in this play include Avery Brooks, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Vereen, and Peter Weller.

From January through September 2005, Martin played Golde in a successful of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. She then took the role of Frau Blucher in the 2007 Broadway musical adaptation of Mel Brooks' 1974 film Young Frankenstein. For her performance in this production, Martin was again nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. After played Frau Blucher for nearly nine months, she vacated the role in 2008. She was on Broadway the following year, acting alongside William Sadler in Exit the King, for which she received her sixth Drama Desk nomination.

In January 2013, Martin played Berthe in The American Repertory Theater's revival of Pippin in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show moved to Broadway in the Spring of 2013.


  1. Ouzounian, Richard. "Love, loss and leopard-print coats." Toronto Star, 16 July 2010. Accessed: 6 November 2010.

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