"What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke."

Happy birthday Steve Martin!

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Steve Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, musician, author, playwright, and producer. He got his start as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, earning an Emmy by the age of 23. He has appeared in countless television shows and films, and has won Grammys for two of his comedy albums. He has written plays, novellas, essays, screenplays, and children's books. Martin has played the banjo since he was 17, and has won two Grammys for his bluegrass and country recordings.

Young-steve-martin-13561195-454-302Martin was born in Waco, Texas, but was raised in Inglewood and Garden Grove, California. His father was an aspiring actor, appearing in Our Town with Raymond Massey during World War II. Martin worked at Disneyland between 1955-58, selling guidebooks and later performed illusions at Main Street Magic Shop. By the time he was attending Santa Ana Junior College, he was already on a path to a career in performance. He was in a Knotts Berry Farm comedy troupe and performed in comedies and other productions at Bird Cage Theater. He went on to study philosophy at California State University Long Beach, and his studies became very influential in his comedy career. (Image source)

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He landed a writing gig at the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour through his former girlfriend. At the age of 23, he won a Grammy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety or Music. He went on to appear in The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Muppet Show, and he appeared regularly on Saturday Night Live, though he was never a cast member – a common misconception.

 

 

He released a number of comedy albums in the 1970s. A Wild and Crazy Guy hit No. 2 on the charts. The song "King Tut," performed by Martin and members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, hit No. 17 on the charts as a single.

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Martin's first big film debut was in a short that he wrote and starred in The Absent Minded Waiter, which went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film, Live Action. Other films he has appeared in include The Jerk: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), All of Me (1984), Parenthood (1989), Father of the Bride (1991), Cheaper By The Dozen (2003), and many others.

 

 

Martin wrote his first full length play in 1993, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He contributed pieces to The New Yorker throughout the 1990s. He has written two novellas, Shopgirl (2000), which was made into a film starring Claire Danes in 2005, and The Pleasure of My Company (2003).

Martin taught himself to play the banjo at the age of 17. He played banjo on Earl Scruggs' remake of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in 2001, which went on to win a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance. In 2009, he released The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, and it won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In 2011, he won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award.

Another major award in Martin's life came in 2005, when he won the Mark Twain Award for American Humor.

He is married to former New Yorker staffer Anne Stringfield and lives in Los Angeles.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 14 August 2014
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