03/24/2005 at 02:00 PM EST
Barney Martin, 82, a former New York City detective turned actor who became best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld's father Morty on Seinfeld, died of cancer Monday at his Studio City, Calif., says his publicist.
After WWII he became a cop, but he started making deputy police commissioners laugh during presentations --which led to his writing for TV shows. His first movie was 1968's "The Producers" (he played a drunk in a bar scene), and he played the woe-begotten husband Amos in the original 1975 production of Chicago.
"Playing Jerry's dad was like having whipped cream on top of a mountain of ice cream,"
Martin said at the sitcom’s wrap party in 1998.
Martin also appeared in several TV shows, including The Tony Randall Show, US, Sydney and Zorro and Son. And he played Liza Minnelli's father in the movie comedy Arthur, with Dudley Moore.
He is survived by his wife and son. A daughter died in 2002 of cancer, the Associated Press reports.