Martin Short is one of the most iconic comedians of all time, but he nearly ended up on a very different career path.
Growing up in Ontario, Canada, Short was the youngest of five children, with three older brothers, David, Michael and Brian, and an older sister, Nora. He originally studied to be a doctor, but switched to social work and earned a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University.
“About two years into college, I realized that … I didn’t like science,” Short shared in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2006. “I did constant theater. And at the end of four years at university, I thought I would take one year off and try to get work as an actor in Toronto.”
After joining Second City Television (SCTV), Short earned his first Emmy Award in 1983 for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program. His brother Michael spent time with SCTV as well and is a comedy sketch writer with three Emmy wins under his belt.
In 2010, Short lost his wife, Nancy Dolman, to ovarian cancer after 30 years of marriage.
“I believe that when people die, they zoom into the people that love them,” Short told AARP The Magazine in 2019. “This idea that it just ends, and don’t speak of them — that’s wrong. That’s based on denial that we’re all going to die. So to me, she’s still here.”
Short’s most notable projects include 1991’s Father of the Bride and its 1995 sequel, his talk show The Martin Short Show and the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, the last of which earned him Emmy nominations for acting and producing.
Keep scrolling to see Short’s career timeline: