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07 May

But at 62 he stands alone in the comedy firmament, adored by Hollywood’s elite as the funniest, nicest, best of them all.

David Kamp explores Short’s eccentric brand of greatness.

Martin Short has never carried a hit movie or a long-running sitcom.

Early on, he despaired at being left behind by friends such as Paul Shaffer, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray.

Not only was Mc Queen openly and repeatedly unfaithful, as author Marc Eliot reveals in a new biography, but he also ingested vast quantities of drugs, regularly getting high on cocaine, peyote (a hallucinogen made from cactus), LSD and — to pep up his bedroom activities — vials of amyl nitrate.

Then it was the summer, and two lots of surgery to deal with the collapse of my spine, and the autumn, and emergency radio therapy to deal with what had grown back. Turns out it’s in my spine, my lungs, throughout my lymph system.But what this book reveals for the first time is the sheer scale of his appalling behaviour, in both his private and professional life.Professionally, he was usually a nightmare to work with, throwing tantrums about everything from the cut of a pair of jeans to the billing of another actor.And then, to cap it off, Short offered, literally, a song-and-dance routine.First, he announced that he had reconciled with his brothers, Manny and Morty, with whom he had fallen out after a successful touring career in the 60s and 70s.