Born in 1934 to David and Anne Seidman, Matt grew up in Brooklyn, in a four-apartment house, owned by his grandparents, Ida and Moe Greenblatt. He knew he was the luckiest of boys, raised by parents and grandparents whom he adored and who, in turn, adored him. Even as an only child, he was never lonely. His mother’s sister, Moe and Ida’s younger daughter, Rose, lived not very far away. Rose and Nate and their two children, Marty and Florence, were with them most weekends. Matt’s street in Brooklyn was Jewish on one side, Italian on the other and so Matt also reveled in his Italian friends – and all the wonderful Italian food he ate.
His childhood, however, did know tragedy. Moe and Ida’s youngest, Matt’s beloved Uncle Eddy, was killed in France, during World War II. After his graduation from Syracuse University, where he was a proud Sigma Alpha Mu man, Matt lived briefly in France and found not only the small village in which his uncle died, but people who remembered the only American soldier who died there. And he found Uncle Eddy’s grave.
Returning from France, where he met Micheline, who was to become his first wife and the mother of his son, Anthony, Matt was both a journalist and an entertainer. Using the name Guy Danfort, he began singing in clubs around Manhattan and eventually, in 1962, acting on the Broadway stage, in “A Gift of Time,” with Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland.
Pursuing the dream, Matt moved to Los Angeles a few years later and enjoyed moderate success, securing roles in the Steve McQueen classic, The Thomas Crown Affair, and other movies, as well as playing the recurring role of the German doctor on the popular series, Rat Patrol, and enjoying numerous appearances on the Carol Burnett Show.
In between acting gigs he escorted groups of professionals, mostly doctors, on prestigious trips though Europe and Asia, as a contract employee of a travel agency owned by Lee and Ann Kirkland, to whom he was introduced by a connection he made in France, Herb DeGraff.
Lee and Ann’s daughter, Kimberly, would eventually become his second – and final – wife.
The big Hollywood break did finally come but he met it by going skiing and breaking his leg in nine places.
Married and a father by then, Matt decided it was time to find a career he could count on to sustain his family.
He worked, first, for City of Hope, founding volunteer groups and producing fund-raising galas…and finding himself in the position of listening to, and trying to help, grieving families. The City of Hope experiences led him back to school, first to get his Masters and then, at 55, his PhD, from USC, and a new profession: that of a counseling psychologist.
Matt and Kimberly married in 1982, in Kansas City, with Anthony at their side, and lived in their home in Sherman Oaks, California. Together, Matt and Kim met threats and obstacles head on and soared joyfully through the gifts and adventures of their life together.
Matt had a private practice for many years and served in various Board positions, including President, of the Group Psychotherapy Association of Southern California. In addition, he was an often requested guest speaker for groups and conferences and a columnist for Valley Magazine.
Kimberly’s father died in 1987 and Matt’s in 1988. Ann Kirkland married her husband’s best friend, Herb DeGraff, in 1989, bringing the Seidman/Kirkland relationship full circle by marrying the man who first brought Matt to their family.
Matt’s son, Anthony, became a teacher and widely respected and published poet and making his father very proud. Matt and Kimberly’s two grandchildren, Leah and Daniel, both brought Matt great joy and love.
Having lost Matt, finally, to Alzheimer’s, Kimberly, Anthony, Leah, Daniel…and so many treasured friends…celebrate the life of the man they loved and the gifts he gave to all their lives.
Gifts remembering Matt should be directed to City of Hope or the Judy Fund at the Alzheimer’s Association.