Zany Showman Marty Ingels Takes Dramatic Final Bow

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Marty Ingels died Oct. 21, 2015, “Back to the Future” day, and it seemed to me an appropriate final act of a zany yet endearing agent-actor-comic.

The last time I saw Marty, the husband of singer-Oscar winner Shirley Jones (“Elmer Gantry,” The Partridge Family”), was at the 25th anniversary screening of “Longtime Companion,” at Outfest 2014. Marty and Shirley and numerous family members turned out in support of Patrick Cassidy, Shirley’s son and one of the stars of the groundbreaking film about a group of friends at the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

Other crew and cast members attended, including Dermot Mulroney and Bruce Davison, but none had the show of family support that Cassidy did.

I went up to Marty at the reception to say hello, and I reminded him that we’d met when I’d written about them for the LA Times and again for the German magazine Spotlight, and when we all attended one of those fabulous nighttime Hollywood Christmas Parades.

He immediately called Shirley over, which reminded me that he had been her biggest champion before, and obviously still was.

He was a great talent promoter because he had endless energy and was constantly following up, setting up interviews, sending me photographs, and then more photographs. He was relentless.

Marty seemed to rub some people the wrong way, but he was certainly a guy that you’d want at a party.

When he married Shirley Jones in 1977, it was sort of like Hollywood’s Jackie Kennedy-marries-Onassis moment. Many could not understand why America’s sweetheart, the fresh-faced beauty who belted out tunes in “Oklahoma!” and “The Music Man,” would marry this guy.

I suppose Shirley’s message after his death pretty much sums it up:

“He often drove me crazy, but there’s not a day I won’t miss him and love him to my core.”

R.I.P. Mr. Ingels.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

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