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R.I.P. screenwriter Mardik Martin

Photo: David Livingston (Getty Images)

Mardik Martin, a celebrated screenwriter who frequently collaborated with Martin Scorsese, has died. Per Entertainment Weekly, friend and former WGA West president Howard A. Rodman tweeted after the Armenian Film Society broke the news on Wednesday night: “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.” A cause of death has not been disclosed as of yet. Martin was 82.

Raised in Iraq, Martin’s first brush with film occurred in his teen years when he worked for a film distribution company. He and his family later moved to New York, where he washed dishes to pay for his education at NYU. There, he met fellow student Scorsese in 1961. The men quickly developed a close friendship and collaborative partnership, co-writing the 1964 short film It’s Not Just You, Murray! They also worked together on Scorsese’s feature Who’s That Knocking On My Door? and the semi-autobiographical Season Of The Witch, which would later become the 1973 crime drama Mean Streets, starring Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. After moving to Hollywood Martin began working for Chartoff-Winkler Productions, where he wrote Ken Russell’s Valentino. 

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Martin would work again with his long-time friend Scorsese on the 1980 De Niro starrer Raging Bull, which garnered eight Academy Award nominations. The film won for Best Editing and secured a second Oscar for De Niro, for Best Actor. Marin would go on to teach writing at his alma mater, NYU, and USC. In 2008 he wrote and starred in a documentary about his life called Mardik: Baghdad to Hollywood, which featured appearances by Scorsese, George Lucas, and Irwin Winkler. His last credited project was for The Cut, a German film that he co-wrote with Fatih Akin in 2014. The film went on to win an award at the Venice Film Festival.

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