Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute's Board of Trustees, announced the Board's decision to honor Steve Martin with the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, known to be Americas highest honor within the industry. The award will be presented to Martin at a gala tribute in Los Angeles, CA on June 4, 2015. The 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute special will return for its third year on TNT when it airs in June 2015, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
"Steve Martin is an American original," said Stringer. "From a wild and crazy stand-up comic to one who stands tall among the great figures in this American art form, he is a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution. His work is defined by him alone, for he is the author – and a national treasure whose work has stuck with us like an arrow in the head. AFI is proud to present him with its 43rd Life Achievement Award."
A multi talented, diversified performer and acclaimed artist of his generation, Steve Martin is of course an actor,comedian, author, playwright, screenwriter, producer and musician. Recipient of an Emmy®, four Grammy® Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor and an Honorary Oscar®, Martin first rose to prominence as a stand-up comedian and quickly established himself as a leading man with a body of work defined by his unique creative voice.
Martin began his career writing for THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR – and in 1969, won an Emmy® for his work. Through the 1970s, he appeared on a number of memorable TV shows – including iconic spots on THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE – as well as comedy essays and albums. The big screen beckoned......
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. In 1979, he had a break-out role as the sweet and clueless "Navin Johnson" in THE JERK (which Martin also co-wrote). It was a perfect showcase for his distinct comedic sensibilities –earnest, innocent and absurd – and it launched him into the zeitgeist. PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981) followed, and he went on to become a bankable big-screen star, with distinct roles in films such as DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID (1982), THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS (1983), THREE AMIGOS! (1986), LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986) and DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (1988) – while also embodying an endearing everyman in ALL OF ME (1984), PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (1987), ROXANNE (1987) and FATHER OF THE BRIDE parts I and II (1991, 1995). He proved himself more than just a funnyman in bittersweet ensemble works including PARENTHOOD (1989), GRAND CANYON (1991), L.A. STORY (1991) and SHOPGIRL (2005) – a film which he wrote based on his own novella of the same name.
In addition to his beloved film credits and his successful writing career, Martin is also an accomplished musician. Martin recently premiered his new musical BRIGHT STAR, at the OldGlobe Theater featuring original music by Martin and songwriter Edie Brickell, inspired by their Grammy® Award-winning collaboration "Love Has Come For You."
Steve Martin was born in Waco, Texas but was raised mostly in Southern California. As a teenager, Martin sold guidebooks and performed magic tricks at Disneyland – honing his craft among seasoned performers at the Happiest Place On Earth. He studied philosophy at Long Beach State College but eventually transferred to the theater program at the University of California, Los Angeles – before leaving college altogether to become a comedy writer for THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR, winning an Emmy® Award in 1969.
In the 1970s, Martin performed stand-up comedy in local clubs, wrote for THE SONNY AND CHER COMEDY HOUR and appeared on THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. In 1979, he brought his offbeat humor to his first starring role in a feature film with THE JERK, which he also co-wrote.
Among Martin's additional credits are DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID (1982), ALL OF ME (1984), LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986), ¡THREE AMIGOS! (1986), ROXANNE (1987), DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (1988), L.A. STORY (1991), FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1991), CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2003), SHOPGIRL (2005) and THE PINK PANTHER (2006).
He has also released four comedy albums between 1977 and 1981, winning GRAMMY® Awards for "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy." He received a gold record for his hit comedy song "King Tut" and recently won another GRAMMY® – Best American Roots Song for "Love Has Come For You," off his nominated album of the same name. An accomplished playwright and essayist, he wrote his first book – "Cruel Shoes" – in 1977.
The AFI Life Achievement Award awarded to Martin is based on specific criteria mandated via the board of AFI trustees :-
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."
Most recently, the 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute brought together the film community to honor Jane Fonda. AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Michael Douglas (2009) presented the award, while past honorees Robert De Niro (2003), Morgan Freeman (2011) and Meryl Streep (2004) paid tribute to Fonda and her diverse talent.
Steve Martin joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973 -
1973 John Ford, 1974 James Cagney, 1975 Orson Welles, 1976 William Wyler, 1977 Bette Davis
1978 Henry Fonda, 1979 Alfred Hitchcock, 1980 James Stewart, 1981 Fred Astaire, 1982 Frank Capra, 1983 John Huston, 1984 Lillian Gish, 1985 Gene Kelly, 1986 Billy Wilder, 1987 Barbara Stanwyck, 1988 Jack Lemmon, 1989 Gregory Peck, 1990 David Lean, 1991 Kirk Douglas, 1992 Sidney Poitier, 1993 Elizabeth Taylor, 1994 Jack Nicholson, 1995 Steven Spielberg, 1996 Clint Eastwood, 1997 Martin Scorsese, 1998 Robert Wise, 1999 Dustin Hoffman, 2000 Harrison Ford, 2001 Barbra Streisand, 2002 Tom Hanks, 2003 Robert De Niro, 2004 Meryl Streep, 2005 George Lucas, 2006 Sean Connery, 2007 Al Pacino, 2008 Warren Beatty, 2009 Michael Douglas, 2010 Mike Nichols, 2011 Morgan Freeman, 2012 Shirley MacLaine, 2013 Mel Brooks, 2014 Jane Fonda.
The American Film Institute (AFI) is America's promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory.
For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI
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features such dramatic unscripted series as Cold Justice and the upcoming On the Menu and Wake Up Call.
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the Stars in August and TCM Essentials Jr. during the summer. TCM also connects with movie fans through such events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and via their broadcasts.
*Thanks to the American Film Institute for the updated information and press release*