Mark Blum, actor in ‘Desperately Seeking Susan,’ dies at 69 from COVID-19 complications


Mark Blum, the actor known for roles in “Crocodile Dundee” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” has died from complications of COVID-19. He was 69.

Blum died at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Wednesday after being diagnosed last week with the coronavirus, said Janet Zarish, his wife of 15 years. The couple had not traveled recently or knowingly been in contact with anyone with the virus, she said, but Blum had asthma.

The New York theater company Playwrights Horizons first announced his death Thursday morning on Twitter.


“With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week,” the company said. “Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you.”

Blum was well-known in New York’s theater community, having appeared in several Broadway productions throughout his career, including Neil Simon’s “Lost In Yonkers” and Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.” He won an Obie Award in 1989 for his performance in “Gus and Al,” the Playwrights Horizons’ production of Albert Innaurato’s play.

His screen credits included a recurring role as Union Bob in “Mozart in the Jungle,” and he recently starred in several episodes of Netflix’s “You.”

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Blum landed a role alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette in the 1985 comedy-drama “Desperately Seeking Susan” as Arquette’s husband. The following year he played a newspaper editor in the adventure flick “Crocodile Dundee.”

“I’m so deeply sad for his family and for his fans,” Arquette said in a tweet. “[H]e was a wonderful actor and a very good and kind man. May you Rest In Peace and power mark. God bless you.”


Blum is one of several older luminaries to die from complications of the disease caused by the coronavirus. African jazz musician Manu Dibango and the Tony- and Emmy-winning playwright Terrence McNally died this week at ages 86 and 81, respectively.

Hollywood couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, Rachel Matthews and Daniel Dae Kim, and musicians Slim Thug, Plácido Domingo and Jackson Browne are among the entertainers who have also tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to his wife, Blum is survived by his mother, Lorraine, and sister Nancy.