Sadly, after being missing for more than three weeks, Mark Anderson was discovered dead in Buckeye Park, Arizona on June 6, 2012.

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Family desperate to find missing husband with mental illness

By Ed Doney

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City woman is hoping for the safe return of her husband who’s been missing for over two weeks.

Mark Wilson Anderson, 60, is the owner of the Improv comedy club in Tempe, Arizona that recently went out of business.

His wife, Holly Drummond Anderson, said he’s now dealing with a mental illness that makes him believe he and his family are in danger.

She last saw her husband on Mother’s Day and said business stress gave him a breakdown while paranoia is keeping him on the run.

“We truly believe he needs help but at the same time it’s very difficult to find him because he’s doing everything he can to evade anyone finding him,” she said Monday afternoon.

Holly said Anderson claimed he had incriminating information about people involved in his business and went to Dallas to build a legal case against them with attorneys.

“He (thought he) was in great danger, extremely paranoid and he believed that I had been killed and replaced by an actress,” she said.

In a voicemail Anderson left for his wife, he said, “It’s not all wrapped up yet and I need for you all to stay away from the house tonight.”

In another voicemail, he said, “We’ve got an incredible family and an incredible life and this is just a speed bump on the highway to heaven.”

The family’s private investigator, Thomas Martin, said Anderson is not running away from his life.

“I do not think that this is a husband who is on drugs or alcohol,” Martin said. “I do not think this is a husband who is running away from marital problems.”

Now, comedy giants like Kevin Nealon are helping in the search, tweeting information about the search for Anderson.

“It’s just heartbreaking to think that he’s out there and so in need of help and we cannot find him,” Holly said.

Anderson was last seen at a friend’s house in San Diego.

However, after our interview the family said someone who looked like Anderson was seen at an Oklahoma casino.

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Police: Missing Tempe Improv owner felt life was in danger

By Haley Madden

The Tempe Improv owner who disappeared May told his family that he was going to Dallas for financial advice, not bringing a cellphone because he felt his life was in danger and feared being tracked, according to Oklahoma City police.

Mark Anderson, 6o, was reportedly having problems with his business partners and believed the disagreement could lead to losing the business or criminal prosecution, according to a police report.

However, a detective hired by the family, Thomas Martin, said one of Anderson’s business partners is assisting on the case. Martin said Anderson suffers from mental disabilities but did not specify a condition.

Family told authorities that they attempted to contact Anderson. They left him a message saying there was an emergency at home and he needed to call immediately, but he never responded.

Officials were told this is out of character for Anderson and he likely would have responded regardless of what was going on.

Authorities have received what they consider to be credible tips claiming to have seen Anderson in a small retail business in Texas and the Win World Casino in Oklahoma, Martin said.

The Tempe Improv has been in the Valley for more than two decades, featuring comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez, Carlos Mencia and David Spade. It had its last show on Saturday.

 

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Search for Tempe Improv owner enters 3rd week

By Associated Press

TEMPE, AZ – The owner of an Arizona comedy club that recently shut its doors has not been seen for more than two weeks.

The wife of Mark Anderson, who owned Tempe Improv near the Arizona State University campus, reported him missing May 15 in Oklahoma City, authorities said. He is 60 years old and has homes in both Arizona and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City police detectives are still investigating Anderson’s disappearance, said police spokesman Dexter Nelson.

He declined to discuss any leads and said that detectives in any missing persons case must investigate whether the individual left willfully or if something of a criminal nature occurred. Investigators are exploring every possible avenue, he said.

Given Anderson owns more clubs in other states beyond the now-shuttered venue in Tempe police will have several places to check.

“With him having the assets he has, he should have a lot of different trails he can leave. If he’s using cash, that could be difficult,” Nelson said.

Anderson was last seen at his home in Oklahoma City on May 13, according to a police report. His wife, Holly, told officers he was going to Dallas to consult with a lawyer.

In the report, Holly Anderson says her husband was under a lot of business-related stress. She says Anderson had also been acting strangely, saying people were after him.

Anderson has a history of mental illness and delusions that he would discuss at times, according to Tony Vicich, who ran comedy workshops at the Tempe Improv with Anderson. He said Anderson was hospitalized for a number of years but seemed to have things under control. Yet, as a club owner, Anderson had a solid reputation when it came to doing business.

“In our business, you never had to worry about the count at the end of the night with Mark Anderson,” Vicich said. “He was honest to a fault in a business where decimal points seem to float around on occasion.”

The Tempe Improv had its last stand-up comedy show Saturday after 23 years. Anderson had told other media outlets the club had lost virtually all its bookings in recent months after another club o,ned in downtown Phoenix last year. While Anderson spoke of renovating and re-opening the 500-seat venue, friends and colleagues said the closure upset the normally optimistic club owner.

“No matter what the situation, he’d go ‘well here’s the good news,” Vicich said. “But it was taking a toll on him that the industry that he kind of helped create seemed to be turning on him.”

Anderson’s family has also hired their own private investigator. Thomas Martin, who heads an investigative agency in Newport Beach, Calif., said his staff has so far received about seven credible tips of sightings of Anderson. According to Martin, they have confirmed that Anderson has been to places in California, Arizona and Texas. He said Anderson has not been using his cellphone and there have been no signs of any credit card or bank account activity.

“I think he’s a smart guy (but) I don’t think he’s street smart and I don’t know how long he can keep on going,” Martin said.

Vicich said he is worried Anderson could be vulnerable to all sorts of danger, especially if he is having mental struggles.

“We have no idea what city’s he’s in. Is he in Phoenix? Is he in Oklahoma? There’s very little that we can do except for hope,” Vicich said.

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No laughing matter: Tempe Improv closes its doors with owner still missing

By Mike Sakal

A funny business in the East Valley is closing its doors today without really having its last laugh.

Instead, the Tempe Improv, located at 930 E. University Drive, is closing under a shroud of seriousness and a bit of mystery as its co-owner, Mark Wilson Anderson, has been missing for two weeks.

While authorities believe he could be somewhere in the Dallas area, Anderson was joined earlier this month by Improv co-owner Howard Pohlenz and other representatives in announcing that the 24-year-old venue would close June 1. They specifically cited competition from Standup Live in downtown Phoenix, which now lands most major acts coming to the Valley. In the past, the Improv presented major comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez and David Spade.

Comics Arden Myrin and Steve Hytner hold the distinction of being the last acts at the Improv, performing the last shows on May 26, according to Yamili Cano, day manager of the Tempe Improv.

Cano said on Thursday that no shows are planned for tonight.

“We’re probably not going to do anything but close the doors,” said Cano, who has been working for the Tempe Improv for nine years and started in the ticket office. “It’s pretty terrible. We love this place. It’s sad to see it go, especially this way anyway.”

Cano and a handful of others were inside the Improv’s office on Thursday, finishing up paperwork.

“I consider the people I work with as family,” Cano said. “Everyone here has been pretty supportive. The comedy circuit is a family.”

Meanwhile, a nationwide search for Anderson remains focused on the Dallas area.

Anderson, 60, was reported missing by his family on May 15, three days after he left Oklahoma City to travel to Phoenix or Dallas to do business, according to Thomas Martin, a private investigator with Martin Investigative Services of Newport Beach, Calif. The family family hired Martin to look into his disappearance.

Martin told the Tribune earlier this week that his office has been monitoring Anderson’s credit card purchases and phone calls, but there has not been any movement on them since May 15, the day he showed up at a friend’s house in San Diego.

The investigators are focusing their search on the Dallas area, as there have been at least three sightings of Anderson in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton as well as one at WinStar Casino in Oklahoma near the Texas border, Martin said.

Anderson has gray hair, brown eyes and glasses and travels between Phoenix and Oklahoma.

He was last seen driving a silver 2011 Dodge Durango SUV with Arizona License Plate No. AWE8050.

Although the final curtain is falling on the Improv today, ComedySchools.com, an independent comedy development and promotional entity that teaches stand-up comedy at the Improv, will re-open in another location in the weeks ahead, according to the school’s director, Tony Vicich.

“Hopefully, the Improv can re-open in the future,” Cano said.

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