The Kennedy Center

Steve Martin

Video and Audio

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    Steven Reineke previews Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

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    First Rehearsal of BRIGHT STAR

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    In the Studio with Bright Star



Biography

As an actor, comedian, author, playwright, screenwriter, producer and musician—Steve Martin is one of the most diversified performers and acclaimed artists of his generation.

Martin has been successful as a writer of and performer in some of the most popular movies of recent film history—appearing in more than 50 films over the course of his career. With titles such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Parenthood, Father of the Bride and Cheaper by the Dozen franchises, Baby Mama and It’s Complicated, Martin’s films are the kind that are viewed again and again. Martin wrote the screenplays for some of his most celebrated films including The Jerk, Roxanne, Bowfinger, L.A. Story and Shopgirl.

Martin’s first film was a seven-minute short he wrote and starred in, The Absent-Minded Waiter. The film was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Short Film, Live Action in 1977.

Martin recently received The 43rd AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.  He’s also received The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Honorary Award at the Academy's 5th Annual Governors Awards. He has also hosted the Academy Awards® three times.
As an author, Martin has written several books including his most recent, An Object of Beauty which is being developing into a feature film. He has also written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, a bestselling novella, Shopgirl, as well as plays including Picasso at the Lapin Agile, children’s books and an art collection book. Martin wrote his first memoir Born Standing Up in 2007. His work frequently appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Martin began his career as a writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which he earned his first Emmy Award® for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety, or Music in 1969. In the mid-1970s, Martin shone as a stand-up on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, made appearances on HBO’s On Location and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and became the first comedian to sell out an arena performance.
As one of the most celebrated comedians, Martin’s comedy album Let’s Get Small (1978) went platinum in the United States and won a Grammy® for Best Comedy Album. His second album, Wild and Crazy Guy, was a comedy album that featured his first music single “King Tut.” This album reached double platinum status in the U.S and earned Martin his second Grammy® Award for Best Comedy Album. Martin’s third comedy album, Comedy is Not Pretty, was nominated for a Grammy® Award for Best Comedy Album in 1979.

Ever evolving his body of work Martin is also a Grammy® Award winning musician who found his love for the banjo at the age of 17. Martin originally used his passion for the banjo as part of his standup comedy routine, but in 2010, he released his first album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-Strong Banjo. Since then, Martin has played many prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Martin released his second full length bluegrass album Rare Bird Alert in 2011. The album featured 13 Martin-penned tracks as well as special guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. Additionally, Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Grammy®-winning bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers. That year, Martin won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Martin also created the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass for those who exemplify outstanding bluegrass performance.

In 2013, Steve Martin released his third full-length album called Love Has Come For You, a unique collaboration with songwriter Edie Brickell. Love Has Come For You, won a Grammy® for “Best American Roots Song” for the title track and inspired the Broadway musical Bright Star.   Bright Star received five Tony Award nominations and also received Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score at the Outer Critics Circle Awards. Martin and Brickell’s second album together, So Familiar, was released on Rounder Records and featured 12 remarkable new songs that bought the acclaimed duo’s musical collaboration into fresh creative territory.

Born in Waco, TX, in 1945, Steve Martin was raised in Southern California and began working as a comedian and magician at area amusement parks, including The Magic Shop at Disneyland. Martin went on to Santa Ana College, and then earned his Theater Arts degree from UCLA.
Steve Martin

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