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The actor Steve Martin was born in 1945 in Waco, Texas, but spent most of his formative years growing up in California. Long before Steve Martin rose to fame as one of the era’s greatest comedic actors, he worked as a magician and entertainer at Disneyland in California while in high school, and in college, he began studying English literature and drama. He joined local comedy troupes and finally settled on theater as his major, but left UCLA before graduating in the late 1960’s.
Martin’s first gig in the industry was as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, eventually earning him his first Emmy Award when he was only twenty-three. The achievement let to writing jobs for other shows, including The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, and he began performing stand-up, landing appearances on such shows as The Tonight Show Starting Johnny Carson, the Gong Show, and Saturday Night Live. It was through his SNL appearances that he became recognizable to a wider audiences, and so it was no surprise that when he released his first comedy albums in the early 1970’s, they quickly went platinum.
Although Steve Martin’s film debut was acutally in the early 1970’s, with a small role in Another Nice Mess (1972), his first major debut was in the Academy Award nominated short film The Absent-Minded Waiter in 1977. But it was 1979’s film The Jerk, which Martin co-wrote, that fully launched him as a comedic superstar and set the course for a career which continues to thrive. After The Jerk, Steve Martin went on to star in a host of highly successful films, including: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), All of Me (1984), Three Amigos (1986), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Roxanne (1987), Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987), Parenthood (1989), L.A. Story (1991), Mixed Nuts (1994), The Out-of-Towners (1999), Novocaine (2001), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Shopgirl (2005), The Pink Panther (2006), It’s complicated (2009), The Big Year (2011), and the Father of the Bride films, both I and II. Martin served as writer and/or producer for many of these films, and he has been recognized by the Golden Globe Awards with five nominations and one win for his work. The Academy Awards also gave Steven Martin an Honorary Award for his body of work in 2013.
In addition to writing for film, Steve Martin was also a frequent contributor to the New Yorker throughout most of the 1990’s. He’s written a few plays, including the adaptations of the off-Broadway play The Underpants (2002), and Traitor (2003.) The novellas Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My company were also both written by Martin, and in 2007 he published Born Standing Up, his memoirs.
Most recently, Steve Martin has returned to an old love – his banjo. An accomplished player, he recently began performing frequently and has appeared with a number of bands, and made his stage debut on the Grand Ole Opry in 2009. His debut music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Bamjo, was released in 2009 and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. He has since performed at the New Orleans Jazzfest, Bonnaroo Music Festival, and on the Colbert Report. In 2010, Steve founded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, to further promote the art of banjo playing.
Most recently, Steve Martin released his collaboration with Edie Brickell, Love Has Come For You, and the duo launched a nationwide tour. Martin also has film projects on the horizon, and a few films which are completed and schedule for release in the coming years.
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