Anyone who has ever watched Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein will never forget Marty Feldman’s scene stealing performance as Igor. I did not get to see Young Frankenstein in the theaters, but would watch it yearly after getting my first VCR in the 1980s. This was not my first exposure to Feldman though. I remember seeing his unusual/distinctive face as a young boy on television when I happened upon my Father laughing hysterically in our living room. I was very young and I am not sure what the show was, perhaps The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, but what I was sure of, was that whoever the man with the big eyes was, he was really really funny. I have since watched Feldman’s TV work myself as an adult and I have howled with laughter at his brilliant comic timing.
I knew this guy’s work well, it being all too abbreviated, but I did not know about the man himself. So I was very happy to pick up Robert Ross’ biography of Feldman, Marty Feldman: The Biography of a Comedy Legend.
The book is a wonderful and comprehensive account of the genius comedian from his early life up until his too early death at the age of 48 while filming Yellowbeard. This was my first time reading anything by author Robert Ross and I was very impressed with his ability to skillfully marry various quotes and memories to milestones in Feldman’s life. Plus he does his legwork because this book is filled with quotes and memories from many comedy legends.
I have waded through some painful biographies lately. Ross’ book is far from painful, it was almost effortless to read. It is over 300 pages and I blew through it in a weekend. This has nothing to do with the book being flimsy. It is chock full of information, but the writing is so tight that I felt like I was watching a televised biography while reading it. When it was over, I wanted more, but the tragedy of course, because Feldman was so young, is that their will not be more.
If you are a Feldman fan or just have an interest in learning more about a comedy genius, I strongly advise you to pick up a copy of Marty Feldman: The Biography of a Comedy Legend in either Hardcover or ebook. It is a well written and therefore quick read that will give you a deep appreciation for Feldman. Which will hopefully inspire you to seek out his lesser known performances in film and television.