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Mardik Martin, 'Raging Bull' and 'Mean Streets' writer, dies at 82

PTI | Los Angeles | Updated: 12-09-2019 14:32 IST | Created: 12-09-2019 14:12 IST
Mardik Martin, 'Raging Bull' and 'Mean Streets' writer, dies at 82

Mardik Martin, whose writing credits include Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets", "New York, New York" and "Raging Bull", has passed away. He was 82. The writer died on Wednesday in Los Angeles, friend and screenwriter Howard Rodman announced on social media. No cause of death was given.

"My friend and colleague Mardik Martin died this morning. You may know him for his writing in 'Mean Streets', 'Raging Bull', 'New York, New York'. "To say that Mardik was one of a kind is a wild understatement. No one — no one — will ever fill those shoes. May he rest in well-earned peace," Rodman wrote in a tweet, alongside a photo with Martin.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Martin, who was of Armenian descent, was born in Iran in 1936, but was raised in Iraq. The scribe went to the US at the age of 18 to pursue studies at the New York University (NYU), where he met fellow student and future collaborator Scorsese.

They worked together on many college projects, which also included a documentary about Scorsese's parents called "Italianamerican". Their first feature was gritty drama "Mean Streets", of which Martin co-wrote the screenplay based on a story by Scorsese.

The 1971 film received favourable reviews and shot Scorsese, and actors Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel to fame. The writer-director duo next worked on 1977's "New York, New York", which was a movie based on a screenplay by Martin and Earl Mac Rauch.

Starring De Niro and Liza Minnelli, the musical drama had mixed success with critics and at the box office. Boxing biopic "Raging Bull" (1980) was the last project film Martin and Scorsese worked on was the boxing biopic Raging Bull.

Based on the memoir of boxer Jake LaMotta, Scorsese directed a screenplay written by Martin and Paul Schrader. The movie went on to become a massive blockbuster at the box office and received favourable response from the critics. It also earned Oscar nominations including best picture and best director and won two including best actor for DeNiro. Besides his collaboration with Scorsese, Martin co-wrote the screenplay to Ken Russell's 1977 film "Valentino", based on the life of silent film icon Rudolph Valentino which starred Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

With studios shifting their focus to big-budget fantasy and sci-fi films in the 1980s, it was challenging for Martin to find work. He also struggled with drug addiction during the lean phase of his career. He spent much of his later life teaching screenwriting at NYU and University of Southern California. A documentary on the writer's life "Mardik: Baghdad to Hollywood" was released in 2008 and featured snippets from Scorsese, George Lucas, Amy Heckerling, Irwin Winker and author Peter Biskind.

His last writing credit was Turkish-German director Fatih Akin's "The Cut" (2014), for which he co-wrote the screenplay. The film addressed the legacy of the Armenian Genocide, a subject close to his heart.



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