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Steve Martin The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize celebrating Steve Martin
Steve Martin
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Recipient Steve Martin
Photo: Scott Suchman
Photo: Scott Suchman

Steve Martin, one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today — actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer — has been successful as a writer of and performer in some of the most popular movies of recent film history.

Christmas 2003, Martin starred in the highest grossing film of his career, "Cheaper by the Dozen," directed by Shawn Levy for 20th Century Fox. The family comedy, co-starring Bonnie Hunt and Hillary Duff, has grossed over $135 million domestically. In February of 2003, Martin starred with Queen Latifah in the blockbuster comedy, "Bringing Down the House" for Touchstone Pictures which grossed $132.7 million. Martin recently signed on to make the sequel to "Cheaper by the Dozen" slated to be released summer 2006.

Martin has completed work on the Touchstone Pictures film "Shopgirl," costarring Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. The screenplay was written by Martin and adapted from his best-selling novella of the same name. "Shopgirl" follows the complexities of a romance between a young girl, who works at a Los Angeles Saks Fifth Avenue glove counter while nurturing dreams of being an artist, and a wealthy older man, who is still learning about the consequences that come with any romantic relationship.

February 2006, Martin will be seen in "The Pink Panther" playing the role of Inspector Clouseau, originally made famous by Peter Sellers. The film, which reunites Martin with director Shawn Levy, co-stars Beyonce Knowles and Kevin Kline.

Mr. Martin hosted the 75th Annual Academy Awards in 2003, his second time handling those duties, the first being the 73rd Oscars. The 75th Annual Academy Awards was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including a nomination for "Outstanding Individual Performance In a Variety or Music Program."

Born in Waco, Texas and raised in Southern California, Mr. Martin became a television writer in the late 1960s, winning an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." By the end of the decade he was performing his own material in clubs and on television.

Steve Martin
Photo: Scott Suchman

Launched by frequent appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," Mr. Martin went on to host several shows in the innovative "Saturday Night Live" series and to star in and co-write four highly rated television specials. When performing on national concert tours, he drew standing-room-only audiences in some of the largest venues in the country. He won Grammy Awards for his two comedy albums, "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy," and had a gold record with his single "King Tut." In 2003, Martin also won a Grammy® Award for Best Country Instrumentalist for his playing on Earl Scruggs 75th Anniversary album.

Mr. Martin's first film project, "The Absent-Minded Waiter," a short he wrote and starred in, was nominated for a 1977 Academy Award. In 1979, he moved into feature films, co-writing and starring in "The Jerk," directed by Carl Reiner. In 1981, he starred opposite Bernadette Peters in Herbert Ross' bittersweet musical comedy, "Pennies From Heaven."

The actor then co-wrote and starred in the 1982 send-up of detective thrillers, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" and the science fiction comedy "The Man With Two Brains," both directed by Carl Reiner. In 1984, Mr. Martin received a Best Actor Award from both the New York Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for his performance opposite Lily Tomlin in "All of Me," his forth collaboration with writer/director Carl Reiner.

In 1987, his motion picture hit, "Roxanne," a modern adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac legend, garnered Martin not only warm audience response, but also a Best Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of America. Mr. Martin was also the executive producer on the film.

In 1988, he co-starred with Michael Caine in the hit comedy film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," his second feature collaboration with director Frank Oz (the first being "Little Shop of Horrors"). In 1989, he starred with Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Wiest in Ron Howard's affectionate family comedy, "Parenthood" for Universal Pictures.

Steve Martin
Photo: Scott Suchman
In 1991, Mr. Martin wrote, starred in and co-executive produced the critically acclaimed comedy, "L.A. Story," a motion picture about a love story set in Los Angeles. That same year he made a cameo appearance in Lawrence Kasdan's critically lauded "Grand Canyon" and starred with Diane Keaton in the hit Disney film "Father Of The Bride," receiving the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture for the latter. In 1992, he starred in the Universal comedy feature "Housesitter," opposite Goldie Hawn, winning the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy, for the second year in a row.

In 1996, he starred again with Diane Keaton in the hit sequel to "Father of the Bride," and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1997, he received universal critical acclaim for his riveting performance in director David Mamet's thriller, "The Spanish Prisoner."

Mr. Martin wrote and starred in the hilarious 1999 feature comedy, "Bowfinger," opposite Eddie Murphy for Director Frank Oz. The film was showcased at the Deauville International Film Festival.

Mr. Martin's other films include classic comedies like Frank Oz's "Little Shop of Horrors," in which he played a demented dentist; John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," co-starring John Candy and the comic Western send-up "The Three Amigos" co-staring Martin Short and Chevy Chase.

In the fall of 1993, Mr. Martin's first original play, the comedy-drama "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," was presented by Chicago's prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre. Following rave reviews and an extended run in Chicago, the play was presented successfully in Boston and Los Angeles, and then Off-Broadway in New York at the Promenade Theatre, to nationwide critical and audience acclaim. It has since been, and continues to be, mounted in productions worldwide. "WASP," a one act play that Martin wrote, was first performed at the Public Theatre in NY in 1995. "The Underpants," a dark comedy Mr. Martin adapted from the 1911 play by Carl Sterneim, premiered Off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company on April 4, 2002.

Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin and Carl Reiner
Photo: Scott Suchman

In 1996, Mr. Martin was honored with a retrospective of his work, by the American Film Institute's Third Decade Council at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. He was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. In 2004 Martin was honored for his film work by the American Cinematheque.

A selection of paintings from his extensive, private, modern art collection was given a special exhibition at the Bellagio Hotel gallery in Las Vegas in 2000, with catalog notes written for the show by Mr. Martin.

After the success of his first novella, "Shopgirl," Mr. Martin's second novella, "The Pleasure of My Company," published by Hyperion, once again was ranked on bestseller lists around the country including the New York Times. He has also written a best selling collection of comic pieces, "Pure Drivel," and his work frequently appears in the New Yorker and the New York Times. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.

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