"I Must Say" - My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend

Martin (Marty) Short was born into an Ontario family as the youngest of five children. His father worked in a steel company during the day and enjoyed drinking alcohol in the evenings. His mother was a musician who always encouraged Marty in his quest to become a singer even when his attempts were somewhat unusual. In fact, Marty spent hours and hours in the upstairs of their home pretending that he was an entertainer. He would record episodes that he dreamed up as well as rather ludicrous conversations that the family had at various times.

Marty enrolled in a university social work program but, before he had a chance to begin building a career in that field, his life changed drastically. By the time he was twenty years of age, his older brother and both of his parents had died. He found himself living alone in the family home for more than a year. He was performing in plays in Hamilton but a friend encouraged him to move to Toronto and this was the start of his professional acting career.

Over the years, Marty was involved in live productions, television shows as well as movies. He played on Broadway, was a popular guest for talk shows and served as host for several productions. He also used his creative mind to develop a number of unusual characters who appeared in comedy sketches.

As a musician, Marty loved to sing and it was rumored that he hosted his annual Christmas party in order to do this with an audience made up of celebrities who had become his close friends.

"I Must Say" is a biography in which Short not only chronicles his career, but also opens the door to his personal life that has been kept somewhat private over the years. He and his wife, Nancy, were married for more than thirty years when she succumbed to cancer. Their three children who were adopted in infancy were, along with their dad, devastated. Nancy had always been a very positive force in their lives and refused to let go of her constant hope for a future until the very end.

Throughout his life, Marty has made friends and many who are closest to him have been there since they all began as unknown struggling artists. In this book, Marty tells stories about escapades that he has had over the years with his buddies Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Paul Schaeffer. He also describes encounters that he had with many of his heroes including Frank Sinatra, Katherine Hepburn and Sammy Davis Junior.

It is obvious that Short is not only proud of his family and career but also of his Canadian roots.

There were times when I was reading that I laughed right out loud. There were other times when I was a little disgusted by a story being told. I was also deeply moved by the honesty with which Marty shared his feelings of inadequacy, awkwardness and grief.

This book was given to me as a gift. I likely would not have sought it out as I was not familiar with the author's work but love biographies - especially when they are about Canadian "success" stories.

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