Mark Blum, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ star, dies of COVID-19 at 69

Mark Blum attends the 'Right Before I Go' benefit performance at Town Hall on Dec. 4, 2017 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Actor Mark Blum has died of complications from the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, according to an executive with the labour union SAG-AFTRA. He was 69.

The actor, who appeared in films like Desperately Seeking Susan and Crocodile Dundee, died Wednesday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital of complications from COVID-19, his wife Janet Zarish confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter.

Blum’s most recent work included playing the bookstore owner Mr. Mooney on the Netflix series You, and he also appeared on HBO’s Succession. 

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Madonna called her Desperately Seeking Susan co-star Blum “a remarkable human.”

She says she remembers him as “funny, warm, loving and professional.” She says his death is “another reminder that this virus is no joke.”

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“I Want to Acknowledge the Passing of a remarkable Human, fellow actor and friend Mark Blum, who succumbed to Coronavirus,” she wrote on Instagram. “This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones. I remember him as funny warm, loving and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!!

“Another reminder that this virus is no joke, nothing to be casual about or pretend wont [sic] affect us in some way,” she concluded. “We need to stay grateful -be hopeful- help each other-and follow the quarantine rules!”

Blum was involved in the New York theatre community, frequently appearing on Broadway in shows such as the revival of Twelve Angry Men.

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Playwrights Horizons, a not-for-profit, off-Broadway theatre located in New York City, remembered Blum in a Twitter post.

“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 theatre company wrote. “Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theater, and to theaters and audiences across the world. We will miss you.”

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Rebecca Damon, executive vice-president and New York president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) labour union, also paid tribute to Blum on Twitter.

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“It is with such deep sorrow that I’m writing to share the news that our friend and former board member Mark Blum has passed away as a result of complications from the coronavirus. Mark was a dedicated Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA board member serving from 2007-2013,” Damon wrote.

She called him a “master teacher, a loyal friend and a beautiful human.”

“Mark was smart, funny, and a true actor’s actor. He will be deeply missed. Thinking of you all. Please #stayhome. #COVID19,” she added.

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Many others took to Twitter to send their condolences once news of Blum’s passing spread.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— With files from the Associated Press

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