Joe Mantell dies at 94; actor received Oscar nomination for role in ‘Marty’


Actor Joe Mantell, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1955 film “Marty” and delivered one of film’s most famous lines in “Chinatown,” has died. He was 94.

FOR THE RECORD: The obituary of actor Joe Mantell in the Oct. 2 LATExtra section said that his “Chinatown” character “spoke the film’s famous last line: ‘Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’ ” It was not the last line of the movie.

Mantell died of pneumonia Wednesday at Providence Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, said his daughter Cathy.

Mantell received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in 1956 for his performance as Angie, the best friend of Ernest Borgnine in “Marty.”


His oft-repeated question to his sad-sack friend — “Well, what do you feel like doin’ tonight?” — was one of the film’s most memorable lines. He also played Angie in the 1953 television production of “Marty.”

In 1974’s “Chinatown,” in which he played the partner of Jack Nicholson’s detective character, Jake Gittes, Mantell spoke the film’s famous last line: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Mantell was born Dec. 21, 1915, in New York and made his film debut in “Undercover Man” in 1949.

He was a familiar character actor on television, with roles in such series as “ Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Barney Miller,” “Mannix,” “The Twilight Zone” and “The Untouchables,” and the early 1960s sitcom “Pete and Gladys.”

He also appeared in such movies as “The Sad Sack” in 1957, “The Birds” in 1963 and the Chinatown sequel “Two Jakes” in 1990.

In addition to his daughter Cathy, Mantell is survived by his wife, Mary; another daughter, Jeanne; a son, Robert; and two grandchildren. Services will be private.