William E. Martin, American musician, Dead

  Actor, Writers

William E. Martin/Bill Martin died on January 27, 2016.

He was an American musician, songwriter, screenwriter, comedic actor and voice actor.

Martin had written the first song (“All of Your Toys”) to be recorded with all four Monkees singing and playing.

Regrettably, the song’s copyright was owned by Tickson Music; Screen Gems, who supervised music selection for the Monkees, had a law within there contract that only Screen Gems-owned material could be released, and Tickson Music decline to sell the copyright.

William Martin took the delay in his stride, signed a new contract with Screen Gems, and the band recorded his “The Door into Summer” (with the title inspired by Robert A. Heinlein’s novel).

Then a later partnership with singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson resulted in the song “Rainmaker”, released in two different versions by Nilsson (on single and on LP) in 1969.

And also Nilsson covered some of Martin’s songs, including “Fairfax Rag” and “City Life”.

Singer-songwriter William released his own album in the late 1960s, but it failed to sell.

After that, he wrote the song “Evergreen (Earth Anthem)”, recorded by Cyrus Faryar, The Turtles, Dan Fogelberg and others.

He also co-starred with Nesmith in his Grammy-winning Elephant Parts in 1981, and Nesmith also produced An Evening with Sir William Martin, with Martin performing a half-hour monologue dressed in a smoking jacket and parodying Orson Welles, interspersed with various character voices.

As a screenwriter, his credits goes to the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons.

William Martin’s first movie voice role came in the 1971 animated movie The Point as the Rock Man and later in the 1989 animated movie Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland as the villainous Nightmare King.

William also had a cameo role in Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees, the 1997 television movie which reunited the full band.

And also the model for Bigfoot in “Harry and the Hendersons.”

Mr. Martins voice talent has also won him roles in numerous animated series, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (taking over the character of The Shredder after James Avery’s departure from the role), Transformers, Challenge of the GoBots, and several Star Wars video games.

William E. Martin passed away in January 2016.