Marty’s final photo session took place in London on August 29, 1982. This was for an intended piece in the Daily Mirror in which Marty made the now famous quote, “I am too old to die young and too young to grow up.”
The article found Marty in a hopeful and happy mood. He reflected on his life and love of his wife, dogs and work in that order. He spoke of his health saying, “I have had cause to readjust my lifestyle, I have given up the booze and feel better for it. I will try and forgo my support of the tobacco industry as soon as I can, I have already lived longer than I thought I might, but the finish line looms for us all.”
He goes on to say that he now loves his life in Los Angeles and appreciates his visits home to see chums and do a bit of work. He goes on to chat about upcoming work with Mel Brooks and a soon-to-be TV show about a detective called Mog. He is delighted at the opportunity to team up with Graham Chapman and John Cleese on the film Yellowbeard. He confirms that he is planning to stage a production of Waiting for Godot at London’s famed Roundhouse Theatre, but declines to confirm his co-star. (It was getting closer to being realized with his partner in the play, David Bowie.)
The piece was to run for a Christmas special but was redirected into an obituary in which only one of the photographs was used. Marty’s death came as a shock to all but it had been a while since Marty had been in the London rags so the public didn’t know what he was up to. The tabloids portrayed Marty’s last years as “a spiraling, substance-abusing fiasco brought on by his many professional disasters.” If you have time to read Marty’s account of his life in his autobiography, the opposite is the truth and these photographs show a reflective and healthy man going through the motions of yet another photo shoot. Luckily the photographer sent Lauretta a bunch of the photos with a note saying that “Marty was so kind and was in a really great frame of mind, he taught me much in the short time we spent together. His death continues to teach me the lesson that life is short and should be enjoyed whenever we can.”
Enjoy the last fresh-faced photos of Marty before he grew the beard to join his pals in Mexico for a romp on the HMS Bounty in the film Yellowbeard.