Actor Mark Blum, who was known for his work as a stage actor as well as his performances in films like Crocodile Dundee and Desperately Seeking Susan, is dead at 69 due to complications relating to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Blum’s widow, Janet Zarish, confirmed the news to Fox News.
“My husband passed away yesterday, March 25th, from complications from the coronavirus. He died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital,” she wrote via email.
New York-based theater group Playwrights Horizons tweeted a tribute to the actor following his death. In the post, the group said that Blum was a longtime friend and “consummate artist.” The group also thanked him for the contributions he’d made to their theater, as well as to the world of theater in general.
With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week. Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you. pic.twitter.com/NMVZFB5hPb
— Playwrights Horizons (@phnyc) March 26, 2020
SAG-AFTRA executive vice president Rebecca Damon also memorialized the actor on Twitter. Blum had previously served on the organization’s board of directors. In her tweets, Damon said that Blum was a tireless advocate for the organization’s members, and worked hard on the merger between SAG and AFTRA.
“Those of us lucky enough to have known him will treasure our memories of a gifted actor, a master teacher, a loyal friend, and a beautiful human,” she continued.
Damon continued her thread by offering a more personal note about Blum, saying which qualities she admired in him specifically.
“I always appreciated Mark’s clear perception of complex situations. He always spoke the truth and did a great service in informing members of our community about the ins and outs of the union whenever he had the opportunity. Mark was smart, funny, and a true actor’s actor. He will be deeply missed. Thinking of you all. Please #stayhome. #COVID19,” Damon wrote.
According to The New York Post, colleagues and critics in the New York theater community also paid tribute to the actor, saying that if he was cast in a role, you knew the production would be worth seeing.
Blum’s death comes as the global death toll related to the coronavirus continues to grow. According to NBC News, the death toll in the U.S. has risen past 1,000, and the global death toll has also past 20,000.
Health experts and Gov. Andrew Cuomo say that New York specifically had not found a way to get the virus under control. In a briefing on Wednesday, Cuomo said that the virus had not reached its apex, and that they had not been able to turn the trajectory around.