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Martin Mull: Arrested Development and Roseanne star dead at 80

American actor and comedian Martin Mull, known for his work on the TV sitcoms Roseanne and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, has died at age 80.

Mull, who also starred in the 1985 comedy film Clue, died on Thursday at his home after a “valiant fight against a long illness”, his daughter, Maggie Mull, said on social media.

In a tribute on Instagram, Ms Mull wrote that her father “was known for excelling at every creative discipline imaginable and for doing Red Roof Inn commercials”.

“He would find that joke funny,” she added. “He was never not funny.”

Mull’s first notable role was in 1976, playing Garth Gimble on the soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which led to two additional spin-off roles, including in the series Fernwood 2 Night.

He then landed the role of army officer Colonel Mustard in the black-comedy film Clue, inspired by the board game of the same name.

Around that time, he also began voicing the Red Roof Inn advertisements that his daughter mentioned in her tribute.

Television aficionados of the 1990s will recognise Mull from his work on Roseanne, where he played the titular character’s boss Leon Carp, or in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where he played Principal Willard Kraft.

Mull also appeared on the critically acclaimed satirical sitcom Arrested Development, playing hapless private detective Gene Parmesan.

He guest starred in numerous other well-known television shows, including The Simpsons, Family Guy, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, The Golden Girls and Two and a Half Men.

Mull was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for a four-episode appearance he made on HBO’s political satire Veep in 2016.

Born in Chicago to an actress and a carpenter, Mull began his show business career as a songwriter and became known as a musical comedian. He opened for Frank Zappa and Bruce Springsteen at numerous live gigs in the early 1970s.

He also studied painting and graduated in 1965 from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

In a 2013 interview with the A.V. Club, he said of his acting career that “every painter I know has a day job. They’re either teaching art at some college or driving a cab”.

“I just happened to luck into a day job that’s extraordinary and a lot of fun and buys a lot of paint,” he said.

As well as his daughter, Maggie, a TV writer, he leaves his wife, Wendy Haas, an actor and composer whom he wed in 1982.

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