“My friend and colleague Mardik Martin died this morning,” Martin’s friend and former WGA West president Howard A. Rodman tweeted Wednesday night. “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.”
The Armenian Film Society was first to announce Martin’s death Wednesday afternoon. His reps did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Martin co-wrote many of Scorsese’s most famous films, including 1973’s Mean Streets, which he penned with the director, and 1977’s New York, New York, which he wrote with Earl Mac Rauch. Martin spent a year and a half researching boxer Jake LaMotta’s life for 1980’s Raging Bull starring Robert De Niro. He and co-writer Paul Schrader earned a Golden Globe nomination for the movie’s screenplay.
Born in Iran to Armenian parents, Martin worked for a film distributor in Iraq when he was a teenager. He later moved to the United States to study economics at New York University but found his passion in the film department, where he met Scorsese in 1961.
Martin worked with the director on some of his early films like the 1964 short It’s Not Just You, Murray, then on Scorsese’s feature debut, Who’s That Knocking at My Door? and the documentary Italianamerican. Martin also collaborated with Ken Russell on the screenplay for the director’s 1977 film Valentino.
Later in his career, Martin became a writing professor at his alma mater, as well as the USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. The 2008 documentary about his life, Mardik: Baghdad to Hollywood, was written by and starred Martin, and featured appearances by Scorsese, George Lucas, and Irwin Winkler. His last writing credit was for the 2014 film The Cut.