Sandy Martin began her acting career at the age of 15 touring the country with Martha Raye in Good-bye Charley. After several East Coast touring productions she settled in New York City. Martin began working in many of New York City’s esteemed theatres: Lincoln Center, La Mama, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Playwrights Horizon, The American Place Theatre acting in over 70 stage productions.
Martin was a founding company member for two renowned New York City’s theatre companies: the Wpa Theatre and the Perry Street Theatre. During this period she played opposite Armand Assante, Christopher Lloyd, John Savage and Ellen Barkin. Martin then joined the improvisational troupe, Second City. First, in New York City at the Eastside Playhouse and the Plaza Hotel before moving on as a company member in Chicago. There she worked with John Belushi, Bill & Brian Murray, and Harold Ramis.
In 1976 Martin was asked to guest direct senior plays at the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in both New York and Los Angeles. During this period she co-founded Hothouse Stage Co. with Susan Streitfeld. Together they produced (with Streitfeld directing and Martin acting) the award winning productions of: Hothouse (Matrix Theatre), East/West Game by John Cassavetes, (Co-staring with Nick Cassavetes at the Callboard Theatre) and Welcome to Andromeda (Matrix Theatre) ending their tenure with Best Revival of the Year – L.A. Weekly 1991, The Killing of Sister George. Sandy went on to direct – Line by Israel Horovitz (Best Direction Award – Dramalogue / (Matrix Theatre), Saturday Night by Jerome Kass (Starring Robert Pastorelli / Cast Theatre), Una Vida (Cheech Merin / Actor’s Studio), Talking With… (Starring Cch Pounder). Martin also directed a reading of The Team by Terrence Feely, starring Kevin Spacey, Lenny Von Dohlan and Sheryl Lee.
After their enormous hit with the stage play, Hothouse by Megan Terry, Sandy wrote the screen adaptation which she packaged with her good friends, Amy Madigan and Ed Harris, both whom she acted with in the award winning world premiere of, Prairie Avenue by Edward Allen Baker, both in New York City. (at Est.) & Los Angeles’s Callboard Theatre.
Esparza/Katz Prod. quickly acquired Hothouse, and thus began a long working relationship with Moctesume Esparza and Robert Katz that lasted over ten years. Starting as a Development Executive, Sandy worked her way up to being the Associate Producer of the company, working on the critically acclaimed feature films: Milagro Bean Field Wars and Selena. She was also Associate Producer of Gettysburg for Turner and Bowl Of Beings starring the famed comedy troupe, Culture Clash for Great Performances on PBS.
During her tenure with Esparza/Katz Prod., Martin wrote several treatments and screenplays; Underdogs, which was optioned by Avnet/Kerner (Risky Business, Fried Green Tomatoes), Thirteenth Duke, commissioned by Marchelo Danon (Producer of the original, La Cage aux Folles), The James Dean Story (Mini-series – Marvin Worth Prod.), she also co-wrote a musical revival of Reefer Madness with Dan Gerrity – directed by the late, great Ron Link. Martin penned Ms. Prez a screenplay that she co-authored with Patrick O’Neal about the first African American Woman President.
Martin produced and directed two documentaries. The Great Meddler about the founding of the American Society for the Protection Of Cruelty To Animals) and The United Farm Workers – A Tribute to Caesar Chavez. The short, Lovely Rita, stars her friend, Cch Pounder – (The Shield) Martin was also President of Edward James Olmos’s production company, Olmos Prod. at ABC for four years in early 2000.
Thrilled to go back to acting, Martin was very happy to score a recurring role on HBO’s drama, Big Love as the creepy he/she Selma Green, as well as the comedy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as Mac’s Mom. Sandy has guest starred on numerous hit shows: CSI, Nip Tuck, Shameless, Saving Grace, Weeds, Cold Case, 2 Broke Girls, Parenthood, The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles etc. She looks forward to continuing her role as Grandma from Napoleon Dynamite for Fox’s animated version of the 2004 mega indie hit.
She played the lead in Tennessee William’s last full-length play; A House Not Meant To Stand in it’s critically acclaimed West Coast Premiere at the Fountain Theatre in 2011. Her performance was nominated for an Ovation Award – Best Female Lead in 2011.
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