Comedy Great Martin Mull, From Roseanne and Sabrina, Dead at 80

Veteran comedic actor Martin Mull, who tallied dozens of TV roles over the years, including memorable turns on Roseanne and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, has died at the age of 80.

Mull’s daughter Maggie announced the news on Instagram: “I am heartbroken to share that my father passed away at home on June 27th, after a valiant fight against a long illness. He was known for excelling at every creative discipline imaginable and also for doing Red Roof Inn commercials. He would find that joke funny. He was never not funny. My dad will be deeply missed by his wife and daughter, by his friends and coworkers, by fellow artists and comedians and musicians, and — the sign of a truly exceptional person — by many, many dogs. I loved him tremendously.”

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Mull’s Roseanne co-star Michael Fishman, who played D.J., shared a tribute to Mull on social media: “Martin Mull is a legend. He was a tremendous talent, who was always funny. As amazing as he was on camera, he was even more incredible off. The world was better with him in it. Perhaps the other side needed more laughter.”

Mull began his career as a musical comedian, writing and performing satirical songs and opening for the likes of Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen in the early 1970s. Mull then broke into acting with roles on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spinoffs Fernwood 2 Night and America 2 Night. He also appeared in a string of films in the 1980s, including Mr. Mom and Clue.

He joined the cast of Roseanne in 1991, playing Roseanne’s gay boss Leon and recurring throughout most of the series’ original run. He went on to play Principal Willard Kraft on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and was a regular celebrity guest on Hollywood Squares. He later played private eye Gene Parmesan on Arrested Development and Charlie’s pharmacist Russell on Two and a Half Men.

Mull’s career continued throughout the 2010s, with appearances on Community, Psych and Veep, the latter of which earned him his lone Emmy nomination. He starred in two short-lived Fox sitcoms: Dads, from executive producer Seth MacFarlane; and The Cool Kids, alongside Vicki Lawrence, David Alan Grier and Leslie Jordan. His most recent TV appearance was a pair of episodes of Apple TV+’s The Afterparty that aired last year.

Grier paid tribute to Mull on Threads: “Rest in Peace. So, so sad. One of my comedy heroes is gone. Loved him to death. I had the honor of working with and befriending Martin and I will miss his intelligence, wit and brilliance. A wonderful painter, performer and raconteur.”

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