Martyn Green

William Martin Green (22 April 1899 – 8 February 1975), known by his stage name, Martyn Green, was an English actor and singer. He is remembered for his performances and recordings as principal comedian of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, in the leading patter roles of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas in the 1930s and 1940s, and for his career in America from the 1950s to the 1970s.

After army service in World War I, Green studied singing and began to perform in musical theatre. In 1922 he joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, playing in the chorus and in an increasing number of small-to-medium sized roles, while understudying, and often substituting for, the company's principal comedian. Beginning in 1931, he was regularly given the roles of Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance and Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore. In 1934, Green became the principal comedian, playing all the famous Gilbert and Sullivan patter roles, including Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Major-General in Pirates, Bunthorne in Patience, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard and the Duke of Plaza Toro in The Gondoliers, among others.

At the beginning of World War II, Green left the D'Oyly Carte organisation and acted in other companies. In 1941, he joined the Royal Air Force, serving until 1945. He soon rejoined D'Oyly Carte and continued as the principal comedian until 1951. He then left the company again and moved to New York City, where he continued his career in Broadway musicals, plays, television, recordings and films. In 1959, his left leg was crushed in a garage elevator and had to be amputated below the knee. Greatly determined, Green was soon acting and directing again using a prosthetic limb. He continued to act and direct for the rest of his life and had a variety of film roles, notably in A Lovely Way to Die (1968) and The Iceman Cometh (1973).

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