He was born Martin Henry Balsam on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, NY. His father was a manufacturer of womens sportswear and he was his first-born child. Martin caught the acting bug in high school where he participated in the drama club. After high school, he continued his interest in acting by attending Manhattans progressive New School. When World War II broke out, Martin was called to service in his early twenties. After the war, he was lucky to secure a position as an usher at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. By 1947, he was honing his craft at the Actors Studio, run at that time by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg. His time at the Actors Studio in New York City allowed him training in the famous Stanislavsky method. Despite his excellent training, he had to prove himself, just like any up and coming young actor. He began on Broadway in the late 1940s. But, it wasnt until 1951 that he experienced real success. That play was Tennessee Williams The Rose Tattoo.