Four times a dad, by choice

Marty Warner seems like your ordinary actor. A life in the business, kids in the business, even a home on the beach. He says he has four kids, the last two are 10 years old. “Twins?” one asks politely. “No. My kids are all adopted,” he answers. Suddenly, he’s no mere mortal.

“Yeah, we’re crazy,” he says, but then adds, “It was the best thing I ever did.”

His daughter Zoe most recently appeared in Malibu writer/director Alice Champlin’s “Random Acts of Evil,” and also appeared on “MAD TV.” “She’s not booking anything lately,” says dad. His elder son, Flynn, 15, has appeared on a series for Nickelodeon. Reno, 12, and Teal, 10, share the family business and the penchant for unusual names.

The kids are home-schooled. “We were running around so much,” says dad of the different schools and sports. He makes sure they have outdoor time: “My idea of the beach used to be lying in bed, listening to it. Then we had kids, and now we’ve got to go out.”

He has been married, “for longer than most people,” to photographer Susan Warner. The family lives in Malibu but keeps an apartment in Hollywood “for the 9 a.m. rehearsal calls.”

Born in Brooklyn, he says, “I was there until I could get on the subway by myself. [My family was] nice, but they weren’t very creative.” He lived in the east village and worked in a bookstore, into which walked Susan. “We talked about how we didn’t have to talk about things,” he reports. They were married six months later.


On Father’s Day, Warner will be starring in “My Client’s a Lunatic.” To prepare for his role as plaintiff’s attorney, he says he has observed attorneys in court. He also says he understands women. “Claudia’s husband in the play didn’t even know why she was making such a big deal. But I was right there from the beginning.

“Growing up in New York helps me with that,” he says. “Meeting all sorts of people, being nice to them, caring.” He terms his wife his best friend and equal.

He won the role thanks to his daughter, Zoe. She was auditioning at The Bitter Truth Theatre for Champlin. Audition notices were posted around the theater. Bitter Truth producer Leslie deBeauvais told him he missed the audition but invited him to the callbacks.

“I’ve never done so many words,” says the actor. “I thrive on film and TV — go in, do it, that’s the end of it. This is mondo words.” Warner is paired with Jillian McWhirter in an alternating cast, appearing every other performance through the play’s run.

He wouldn’t mind being more successful, but not just for the money. “If I had more money,” he says, “I guess I’d adopt more kids.” He does not understand how those with inordinate wealth can say they don’t know how to spend their money. “People should take time off, look for something and give it away,” he says. “I’d like to be able to set that example.”

What would he probably like for Father’s Day? “I’m looking for a really good agent,” he says.

“My Client’s a Lunatic” appears Sundays at 1 p.m., through July 26, at The Bitter Truth Theatre, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Telephone 818/766-9702.

Goo . . .

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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