Martin West — actor, filmmaker, and for over 20 years the life partner of noted Westport artist Ann Chernow — died December 31. He was 82.
He first appeared on stage in New York in 1959, with George C. Scott in “the Andersonville Trial.” He also appeared in over 30 movies. As a documentary filmmaker, West earned an Emmy Award for “The Making of ‘My Fair Lady.'”
His television acting credits included 9 years as Dr. Brewer on “General Hospital,” and stints on “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “Ironside,” “Dallas,” “Highway to Heaven,” “Matlock” and “L.A. Law.”
West moved to Connecticut in 1993. He joined Theatre Artists Workshop of Westport, acting in and directing many productions.
In 1999 Ann Sheffer commissioned him to produce “A Gathering of Glory,” a documentary about the history of the arts in Westport. The film included artist Paul Cadmus, actors Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Christopher Plummer, as well as Keir Dullea — West’s lifelong, and best, friend.
Over the next several years — while still acting — West became a key figure in the Westport arts scene. He was instrumental in expanding the Theatre Arts Workshop (founded by Dullea in 1983), and was part of the Westport Arts Center.
West’s growing interest in the local visual arts led him to develop a film project about artists over the age of 70, who still worked in Westport and Weston studios.
“Years in the Making” (2009) celebrated 50 Westport aand Weston artists — some of them in their 90s — working in oil, charcoal, sculpture, photography and printmaking.
The film — made with fellow Westporter Kristen Fox McKinney — garnered several national film awards.
He also developed separate videos about each of the 50 artists. It’s all available now at the Westport Library.
West continued working on new projects in Westport, including a documentary about his partner in life and art, Ann Chernow.
In addition to Chernow, he is survived by his children Jason Weixelbaum, Allie West and Gabriel West; stepson Paul Mend, and sister Gail Britt.
A memorial service is set for this Saturday (January 4, 2 to 5 p.m., Theatre Artists Workshop [Masonic Lodge], 5 Gregory Boulevard, Norwalk).
In lieu of flowers, donations in West’s name can be made to Theatre Artists Workshop.