27 March 2020 08:35
Actor Mark Blum, best known for featuring in movies such as "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Crocodile Dundee", has died of complications from COVID-19. The news of his death was shared by Rebecca Damon, the executive vice-president of Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). "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 tweeted on Thursday. Blum started his career in the 1970s and made a mark on theatre scene with critically-acclaimed performance in Playwrights Horizons production of Albert Innaurato's "Gus and Al".
He also performed on Broadway with productions like "Lost in Yonkers", "The Best Man" and "The Assembled Parties". In Hollywood, Blum is best known for portraying the husband of Rosanna Arquette's character in 1985's "Desperately Seeking Susan". He followed it up by playing actor Paul Hogan's rival in 1986's "Crocodile Dundee". His other feature credits include "Lovesick", "Just Between Friends", "Blind Date" and "The Presidio". On the television front, Blum is still remembered for starring in two hits series--"Mozart in the Jungle" and Netflix's "You".
Mark was a dedicated Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA board member serving from 2007-2013, a passionate champion for the merger, and a tireless advocate for members. Those of us lucky enough to have known him will treasure our memories of a gifted actor, a master teacher, a loyal friend, and a beautiful human."Damon continued, "On a personal note--I always appreciated Mark's clear perception of complex situations. He always spoke the truth and did a great service in informing members of our community about the ins and outs of the union whenever he had the opportunity. Mark was smart, funny, and a true actor's actor. He will be deeply missed.
Thinking of you all. Please #stayhome. #COVID19."Playwrights Horizons, the New York City-based group also tweeted about Blum's death, writing, "With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week. Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theatre, and to theatres and audiences across the world. We will miss you."Blum was a fixture of the New York theatre community, and appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, Gore Vidal's The Best Man and many more, reported TheWrap.In 1970s, the New Jersey-born actor reportedly got his start and then he made the transition to the big screen. He debuted with a role in the 1983 film Lovesick, followed by St. Elsewhere the following year.In the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan, Blum starred alongside Rosanna Arquette.She told TheWrap of Mark, "I'm sad about this. He was really very kind, was always supportive and funny, a gentleman and a great actor who loved the work. I'm so sad for his family and all the people who love him. This is a tragedy on so many levels. Rest in peace and power Mark Blum." SELF-EMPLOYED workers will be paid up to £2,500 to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus — but the grants won't be available until mid-June, the chancellor has said. Rishi Sunak's long-awaited package of measures will offer workers 80 per cent of their average earnings over the past three years — and be backdated to the beginning of March. But the self-employed will get nothing if their average income comes to more than £50,000 a year, he said. The income support scheme for most of Britain's 5.5million self-employed mirrors that offered to people in employment and will run for a minimum of three months. Mr Sunak hailed it as 'one of the most generous support schemes for the self-employed anywhere in the world'. 'We've acted at incredible speed to help people through a very challenging few months,' he added. But it only applies to workers who receive the majority of their income from self-employment and Mr Sunak also admitted many would have to rely on universal credit for support until the scheme is up and running. 'It is already the case that people can get an advance payment almost immediately, certainly within days,' he said. 'On top of that we have deployed extra resources to local authorities for those particularly in need.' He said payments would go straight to the bank accounts of those eligible and be calculated on the average of three years' trading profits. 'For those that don't have three years, we will look at what they do have,' he added. The scheme will cover 95 per cent of the self-employed workforce and the average earnings of those who do not qualify is £200,000 a year, he said. 'Many self-employed people have been deeply anxious about the support available for them. You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. We all stand together,' he added. His package was welcomed by unions and industry groups. Tim Roache, of the GMB, said 'millions of self-employed workers will sleep easier tonight'. And Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, of the CBI, added: 'These measures provide essential support to those facing significant uncertainty and loss of income.' But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the payments will come too late when people 'need support in the coming days and fortnight'. He added: 'Asking people to rely on universal credit when more than 130,000 are queuing online will be worrying to many people. There is a real risk that without support until June the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others' health at risk.' ■ THE government has told home buyers and sellers to delay transactions due to coronavirus stalling the housing market, according to the Financial Times. The move followed talks between ministers and lenders, with banks wanting a full suspension of the market over Covid-19 impact worries, the report said. It added that ministers were told surveying properties had become difficult.