Martin Alan “Marty” Feldman (8 July 1934 – 2 December 1982) was an English writer, comedian and actor, notable for bulging eyes, the result of a thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease.On December 2nd, 1982, Marty Feldman died from a heart attack in a hotel room in Mexico City. This occurred during the making of the film Yellowbeard. Cartoonist Sergio Aragonés was filming nearby, introduced himself to Feldman that night, frightened Feldman and possibly induced his heart attack. Aragones was dressed for his role as an armed policeman. He ran up to Feldman, startling him. He has told the story with the punchline “I killed Marty Feldman”. The story was converted into a strip in Aragones’ issue of DC Comics’ Solo.
As a result of his death, Feldman’s character “Gilbert” dies toward the end of the movie Yellowbeard by falling into a pit of acid.
On the DVD commentary of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks cites factors that may have contributed to Feldman’s death. He smoked sometimes six packs of cigarettes daily, drank copious amounts of coffee and ate a diet high in eggs and dairy products (despite being a vegetarian). During filming in Mexico he also suffered food poisoning after eating contaminated shellfish. Michael Mileham, who made the behind-the-scenes movie Group Madness about the making of Yellowbeard, said he and Feldman swam to an island where a local was selling lobster and coconuts. Mileham and Feldman used the same knife on their lobsters. Mileham said he got shellfish poisoning next day, then theorised that since Feldman used the same knife he also could have been poisoned. Sometimes it takes days to feel food poisoning and this could have been a factor. The stress of altitude—2,300m (7,546 ft) where the air is thin—may also have been a factor.
He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California near his idol, Buster Keaton, in the Garden of Heritage.