Martin Gabel

Martin Gabel (June 19, 1912 – May 22, 1986) was an American actor, film director and film producer.

Martin Gabel
Born(1912-06-19)June 19, 1912
DiedMay 22, 1986(1986-05-22) (aged 73)
Resting placeRoosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Pennsylvania
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1934–1980
Arlene Francis
(m. 1946)
ChildrenPeter Gabel

Life and career

Gabel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ruth (née Herzog) and Israel Gabel, a jeweler, both Jewish immigrants.[1][2] He married Arlene Francis on May 14, 1946, and they had a son named Peter Gabel.[3]

Gabel's most noted work was as narrator and host of the May 8, 1945, CBS Radio broadcast of Norman Corwin's epic dramatic poem On a Note of Triumph, a commemoration of the fall of the Nazi regime in Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. The broadcast was so popular that the CBS, NBC, Blue and Mutual networks broadcast a second live production of the program on May 13. The Columbia Masterworks record label subsequently published an album of the May 13 production. The production became the title focus of the Academy Award-winning short film A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin in 2005, the 60th anniversary year of the broadcast.[4]

Gabel was first associated with Orson Welles when he played Javert in his six-part radio adaptation of Les Misérables (1937).[5][6]:338 He became one of the original members of Welles's Mercury Theatre repertory company. On the stage Gabel portrayed Cassius in Caesar (1937), a critically acclaimed modern-dress adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy streamlined into an anti-fascist tour de force,[6]:339 and starred as Danton in Danton's Death (1938).[5] On radio, he played Professor Van Helsing in "Dracula" (1938), the debut episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air.[7]:50

In 1947, he directed his only film, The Lost Moment. Gabel appeared in few films over his career, usually in small roles. A notable large supporting part was as crime boss Tomas Rienzi in Richard Brooks's Deadline U.S.A. (1952), starring Humphrey Bogart. Gabel played another mob figure in a Frank Sinatra private-detective film, Lady in Cement (1968), then co-starred again with Sinatra in Contract on Cherry Street and The First Deadly Sin.[4]

Gabel won the 1961 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor for the comedy Big Fish, Little Fish;[3] he was also noted for his performances in the Broadway productions of Baker Street, in which he played Professor Moriarty; The Rivalry, in which he played Stephen A. Douglas.[8]

Gabel played businessman Mr. Strutt in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), and the psychiatrist in the Billy Wilder version of The Front Page (1974) with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. He was a frequent guest panelist on the popular CBS Television Sunday night game show What's My Line?, on which his wife, Arlene Francis, was a regular panelist.[4]


One week after celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary, Martin Gabel died in New York City from a heart attack on May 22, 1986, aged 73.[3]

Selected theatre credits


Year Title Role Notes
1947The Lost MomentDirector
1947Smash-Up: The Story of a WomanAssociate producer
1951Pictura: An Adventure in ArtCo-NarratorVoice
1951MCharlie Marshall, crime boss
1951Fourteen HoursDr. Strauss
1952Deadline – U.S.A.Tomas Rienzi
1952The ThiefMr. Bleek
1957The James Dean StoryNarrator
1957Tip on a Dead JockeyBert Smith
1961The CrimebustersGeorge Vincent
1961The Power and the GloryChief of police
1963The Making of the President 1960Narrator
1964MarnieSidney Strutt
1964Goodbye CharlieMorton Craft
1966Lord Love a DuckT. Harrison BelmontUncredited
1967Divorce American StyleDr. Zenwinn
1968Lady in CementAl Munger
1970There Was a Crooked Man...Warden LeGoff
1974The Front PageDr. Max J. Eggelhofer
1980The First Deadly SinChristopher Langley(final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1956-1967What's My Line?Occasional panelist
1960ThrillerMr Freitag1 episode
1960The FatalistNathan Shotness1 episode
1967TarzanPeter Maas1 episode
1972HarveyJudge Omar GaffneyTV Movie
1974Smile, Jenny, You're DeadMeade De RuyterTV Movie
1977Contract on Cherry StreetBaruch 'Bob' Waldman, Crime BossTV Movie


  1. Info re Gabel's parents,; accessed October 7, 2014.
  2. Martin Gabel profile,; accessed October 5, 2014.
  3. "Martin Gabel, Actor, Director and Producer, is dead at 73". The New York Times. May 23, 1986. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  4. Martin Gabel on IMDb
  5. "Danton's Death". Playbill. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  6. Welles, Orson; Bogdanovich, Peter; Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1992). This is Orson Welles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-016616-9.
  7. Orson Welles on the Air: The Radio Years. New York: The Museum of Broadcasting, catalogue for exhibition October 28–December 3, 1988.
  8. Martin Gabel at the Internet Broadway Database
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.