Martin in 2017
|Birth name||Stephen Glenn Martin|
|Born||August 14, 1945|
Waco, Texas, U.S.
|Education|| Santa Ana College |
California State University, Long Beach
University of California, Los Angeles
(m. 1986;div. 1994)
Anne Stringfield(m. 2007)
Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician. Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour , and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show . In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from comedy, Martin has become a successful actor, as well as an author, playwright, pianist, and banjo player, eventually earning him Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards, among other honors.
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was an American comedy and variety show television series hosted by the Smothers Brothers and initially airing on CBS from 1967 to 1969.
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show currently broadcast from the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center in New York City, the show's original location and airing on NBC since 1954. The series has been hosted by six comedians: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon, and had several recurring guest hosts including Ernie Kovacs during the Steve Allen era and Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling and Jay Leno during Johnny Carson's stewardship, although the practice has been abandoned since Carson's departure, with hosts preferring reruns to showcasing potential rivals. The Tonight Show is the world's longest-running talk show, and the longest-running, regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States. It is the third-longest-running show on NBC, after the news-and-talk shows Today and Meet the Press.
The American Comedy Awards are a group of awards presented annually in the United States recognizing performances and performers in the field of comedy, with an emphasis on television comedy and comedy films. They began in 1987, billed as the "first awards show to honor all forms of comedy." In 1989, after the death of Lucille Ball, the statue was named "the Lucy" to honor the comic legend.
In 2004, Comedy Centralranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. He was awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy's 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013.
Comedy Central is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Global Entertainment Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom, based in Manhattan. The channel is geared for mature audiences and carries comedy programming in the form of both original, licensed, and syndicated series, stand-up comedy specials, and feature films.
The Governors Awards presentation is an annual award ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center, in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California. Three awards that signify lifetime achievement within the film industry – the Academy Honorary Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award – are presented at this ceremony. The first Governors Awards ceremony was held on November 14, 2009. Prior to this, these three awards were formally presented during the main Academy Awards ceremony, which now conducts a short mention and appearance of the awards recipients after displaying a montage of the Governors Awards presentation. In the years since, the awards have gained prominence as a major red-carpet destination and industry event.
While he has played banjo since an early age, and included music in his comedy routines from the beginning of his professional career, he has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000s, acting less and spending much of his professional life playing banjo, recording, and touring with various bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo , in 2009, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
The banjo is a four-, five-, or six-stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity as a resonator, called the head, which is typically circular. The membrane is typically made of plastic, although animal skin is still occasionally used. Early forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in the United States, adapted from African instruments of similar design. The banjo is frequently associated with folk, Irish traditional, and country music. Banjo can also be used in some rock songs. Many rock bands, such as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and The Allman Brothers, have used the five-string banjo in some of their songs. Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in African-American traditional music and the folk culture of rural whites before entering the mainstream via the minstrel shows of the 19th century. Along with the fiddle, the banjo is a mainstay of American old-time music. It is also very frequently used in traditional ("trad") jazz.
Earl Eugene Scruggs was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called "Scruggs style," which is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the traditional way the five-string banjo had previously been played. This new style of playing became popular and elevated the banjo from its previous role as a background rhythm instrument to featured solo status. He popularized the instrument across several genres of music.
The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo is a 2009 album by Steve Martin, featuring Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Tim O'Brien, Tony Trischka and Mary Black. It contains 15 songs and is the first album focusing on Martin as a musician. Martin's 1977 comedy recording Let's Get Small, however, did feature him briefly playing the banjo during some of the comedy bits, and The Steve Martin Brothers devotes one side to banjo playing, including earlier renditions of some of the music presented here. It was first released on January 27, 2009 as an Amazon.com exclusive and then released to retail stores everywhere on May 19, 2009. On January 31, 2010, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
Martin was born on August 14, 1945,in Waco, Texas, the son of Mary Lee (née Stewart; 1913–2002) and Glenn Vernon Martin (1914–1997), a real estate salesman and aspiring actor.
Waco is a city in central Texas and is the county seat of McLennan County, Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and I-35, halfway between Dallas and Austin. The city had a 2010 population of 124,805, making it the 22nd-most populous city in the state. The 2018 US Census population estimate is 138,183 The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan and Falls Counties, which had a 2010 population of 234,906. Falls County was added to the Waco MSA in 2013. The 2018 US Census population estimate for the Waco MSA is 271,942.
Martin was raised in Inglewood, California, with sister Melinda Martin, and then later in Garden Grove, California, in a Baptist family.Martin was a cheerleader of Garden Grove High School. One of his earliest memories is of seeing his father, as an extra, serving drinks onstage at the Call Board Theatre on Melrose Place. During World War II, in the United Kingdom, Martin's father had appeared in a production of Our Town with Raymond Massey. Expressing his affection through gifts, like cars and bikes, Martin's father was stern, and not emotionally open to his son. He was proud but critical, with Martin later recalling that in his teens his feelings for his father were mostly ones of hatred.
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 109,673. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. The city is in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park is under construction in the city and, when completed around 2020, will be the new home of both the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. The city is also close to Los Angeles International Airport.
Garden Grove is a city in northern Orange County, California, United States, located 34 miles (55 km) southeast of the city of Los Angeles in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The population was 170,883 at the 2010 United States Census. State Route 22, also known as the Garden Grove Freeway, passes through the city in an east-west direction. The western portion of the city is known as West Garden Grove.
Garden Grove High School is a high school located in Garden Grove, California. It is a member of the Garden Grove Unified School District.
Martin's first job was at Disneyland, selling guidebooks on weekends and full-time during his school's summer break. That lasted for three years (1955–1958). During his free time, he frequented the Main Street Magic shop, where tricks were demonstrated to patrons.While working at Disneyland, he was captured in the background of the home movie that was made into the short-subject film Disneyland Dream , incidentally becoming his first film appearance. By 1960, he had mastered several magic tricks and illusions and took a paying job at the Magic shop in Fantasyland in August. There he perfected his talents for magic, juggling, and creating balloon animals in the manner of mentor Wally Boag, frequently performing for tips.
Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park designed and built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was originally the only attraction on the property; its official name was changed to Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the expanding complex in the 1990s. It is the oldest Disney Park in the world.
Disneyland Dream (1956) is a home movie made by Robbins and Meg Barstow that documents their family's free trip to the newly opened Disneyland. The one-week trip was a prize they won in a contest sponsored by Scotch tape. The movie was shot with a 16 mm handheld camera. It lasts approximately 30 minutes. An audio track was added to the film in 1995.
Fantasyland is one of the "themed lands" at all of the Magic Kingdom-style parks run by The Walt Disney Company around the world. Each Fantasyland has a castle as well as several gentle rides themed after Disney movies.
In his authorized biography, close friend Morris Walker suggests that Martin could "be described most accurately as an agnostic ... he rarely went to church and was never involved in organized religion of his own volition".
In his early 20s, Martin dated Melissa Trumbo, daughter of acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
After high school, Martin attended Santa Ana College, taking classes in drama and English poetry. In his free time, he teamed up with friend and Garden Grove High School classmate Kathy Westmoreland to participate in comedies and other productions at the Bird Cage Theatre. He joined a comedy troupe at Knott's Berry Farm.Later, he met budding actress Stormie Sherk, and they developed comedy routines and became romantically involved. Sherk's influence caused Martin to apply to the California State University, Long Beach, for enrollment with a major in philosophy. Sherk enrolled at UCLA, about an hour's drive north, and the distance eventually caused them to lead separate lives.
Inspired by his philosophy classes, Martin considered becoming a professor instead of an actor–comedian. His time at college changed his life.
|“||It changed what I believe and what I think about everything. I majored in philosophy. Something about non-sequiturs appealed to me. In philosophy, I started studying logic, and they were talking about cause and effect, and you start to realize, 'Hey, there is no cause and effect! There is no logic! There is no anything!' Then it gets real easy to write this stuff because all you have to do is twist everything hard—you twist the punch line, you twist the non-sequitur so hard away from the things that set it up.||”|
Martin recalls reading a treatise on comedy that led him to think:
|“||What if there were no punch lines? What if there were no indicators? What if I created tension and never released it? What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do with all that tension? Theoretically, it would have to come out sometime. But if I kept denying them the formality of a punch line, the audience would eventually pick their own place to laugh, essentially out of desperation.||”|
Martin periodically spoofed his philosophy studies in his 1970s stand-up act, comparing philosophy with studying geology.
|“||If you're studying geology, which is all facts, as soon as you get out of school you forget it all, but philosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.||”|
In 1967, Martin transferred to UCLA and switched his major to theater. While attending college, he appeared in an episode of The Dating Game . Martin began working local clubs at night, to mixed notices, and at twenty-one, he dropped out of college.
In 1967, his former girlfriend Nina Goldblatt, a dancer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour , helped Martin land a writing job with the show by submitting his work to head writer Mason Williams.Williams initially paid Martin out of his own pocket. Along with the other writers for the show, Martin won an Emmy Award in 1969, aged 23. He also wrote for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour , and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Martin's first TV appearance was on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968. He says:
|“||[I] appeared on The Virginia Graham Show, circa 1970. I looked grotesque. I had a hairdo like a helmet, which I blow-dried to a puffy bouffant, for reasons I no longer understand. I wore a frock coat and a silk shirt, and my delivery was mannered, slow and self-aware. I had absolutely no authority. After reviewing the show, I was depressed for a week.||”|
During these years his roommates included comedian Gary Mule Deer and singer/guitarist Michael Johnson.Martin opened for groups such as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (who returned the favor by appearing in his 1980 television special All Commercials), The Carpenters, and Toto. He appeared at San Francisco's The Boarding House, among other venues. He continued to write, earning an Emmy nomination for his work on Van Dyke and Company in 1976.
In the mid-1970s, Martin made frequent appearances as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson , 's audience jumped by a million viewers when he made guest appearances, and he was one of the show's most successful hosts. Martin appeared on 27 Saturday Night Live shows and he guest-hosted 15 times, bested only in number of presentations by host Alec Baldwin (who has hosted 17 times as of February 2017 [update] ). On the show, Martin popularized the air quotes gesture, which uses four fingers to make double quote marks in the air. While on the show Martin became close with several of the cast members, including Gilda Radner. Radner died of ovarian cancer on May 20, 1989; a visibly shaken Martin hosted SNL that night and featured footage of himself and Radner together in a 1978 sketch.and on The Gong Show , HBO's On Location , The Muppet Show , and NBC's Saturday Night Live (SNL). SNL
In the 1970s, his TV appearances led to the release of comedy albums that went platinum.The track "Excuse Me" on his first album, Let's Get Small (1977), helped establish a national catch phrase. His next album, A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978), was an even bigger success, reaching the No. 2 spot on the U.S. sales chart, selling over a million copies. "Just a wild and crazy guy" became another of Martin's known catch phrases. The album featured a character based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches where Martin and Dan Aykroyd played the Festrunk Brothers; Yortuk and Georgi were bumbling Czechoslovak would-be playboys. The album ends with the song "King Tut", sung and written by Martin and backed by the "Toot Uncommons", members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was later released as a single, reaching No. 17 on the U.S. charts in 1978 and selling over a million copies. The song came out during the King Tut craze that accompanied the popular traveling exhibit of the Egyptian king's tomb artifacts. Both albums won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Martin performed "King Tut" on the edition of April 22, 1978, of SNL.
Decades later, in 2012, The A.V. Club described Martin's unique style and its impact on audiences:
|“||[Martin was] both a consummate entertainer and a glib, knowing parody of a consummate entertainer. He was at once a hammy populist with an uncanny, unprecedented feel for the tastes of a mass audience and a sly intellectual whose goofy shtick cunningly deconstructed stand-up comedy.||”|
On his comedy albums, Martin's stand-up is self-referential and sometimes self-mocking. It mixes philosophical riffs with sudden spurts of "happy feet", banjo playing with balloon depictions of concepts like venereal disease, and the "controversial" kitten juggling (he is a master juggler; the "kittens" were stuffed animals). His style is off-kilter and ironic and sometimes pokes fun at stand-up comedy traditions, such as Martin opening his act (from A Wild and Crazy Guy) by saying:
|“||I think there's nothing better for a person to come up and do the same thing over and over for two weeks. This is what I enjoy, so I'm going to do the same thing over and over and over [...] I'm going to do the same joke over and over in the same show, it'll be like a new thing.||”|
Or: "Hello, I'm Steve Martin, and I'll be out here in a minute."In one comedy routine, used on the Comedy Is Not Pretty! album, Martin claimed that his real name was "Gern Blanston". The riff took on a life of its own. There is a Gern Blanston website, and for a time a rock band took the moniker as their name.
With this kind of outstanding success, Martin's show soon required full sized stadiums for the audiences he was drawing. Concerned about his visibility in venues on such a scale, Martin began to wear a distinctive three piece white suit that became a trademark for his act.
Martin stopped doing stand-up comedy in 1981 to concentrate on movies and did not return for 35 years.About this decision, he states:
|“||My act was conceptual. Once the concept was stated, and everybody understood it, it was done. ... It was about coming to the end of the road. There was no way to live on in that persona. I had to take that fabulous luck of not being remembered as that, exclusively. You know, I didn't announce that I was stopping. I just stopped.||”|
In 2016, Martin made a rare return to comedy, opening for Jerry Seinfeld. He performed a 10-minute routine before turning the stage over to Seinfeld.Later in 2016 he returned to stand-up comedy, staging a national tour with Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers, which yielded a 2018 Netflix comedy special, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life.
By the end of the 1970s, Martin had acquired the kind of following normally reserved for rock stars, with his tour appearances typically occurring at sold-out arenas filled with tens of thousands of screaming fans. But unknown to his audience, stand-up comedy was "just an accident" for him; his real goal was to get into film.
Martin had a small role in the 1972 film Another Nice Mess . His first substantial film appearance was in a short titled The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977). The seven-minute-long film, also featuring Buck Henry and Teri Garr, was written by and starred Martin. The film was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Short Film, Live Action. He made his first substantial feature film appearance in the musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , where he sang The Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". In 1979, Martin starred in the comedy film The Jerk , directed by Carl Reiner, and written by Martin, Michael Elias, and Carl Gottlieb. The film was a huge success, grossing over $100 million on a budget of approximately $4 million.
Stanley Kubrick met with him to discuss the possibility of Martin starring in a screwball comedy version of Traumnovelle (Kubrick later changed his approach to the material, the result of which was 1999's Eyes Wide Shut ). Martin was executive producer for Domestic Life, a prime-time television series starring friend Martin Mull, and a late-night series called Twilight Theater. It emboldened Martin to try his hand at his first serious film, Pennies from Heaven (1981), based on the 1978 BBC serial by Dennis Potter. He was anxious to perform in the movie because of his desire to avoid being typecast. To prepare for that film, Martin took acting lessons from director Herbert Ross and spent months learning how to tap dance. The film was a financial failure; Martin's comment at the time was "I don't know what to blame, other than it's me and not a comedy."
Martin was in three more Reiner-directed comedies after The Jerk: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in 1982, The Man with Two Brains in 1983 and All of Me in 1984, his most critically acclaimed performance up to that point.In 1986, Martin joined fellow Saturday Night Live veterans Martin Short and Chevy Chase in ¡Three Amigos! , directed by John Landis, and written by Martin, Lorne Michaels, and singer-songwriter Randy Newman. It was originally entitled The Three Caballeros and Martin was to be teamed with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. In 1986, Martin was in the movie musical film version of the hit Off-Broadway play Little Shop of Horrors (based on a famous B-movie), playing the sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello. The film was the first of three films teaming Martin with Rick Moranis. In 1987, Martin joined comedian John Candy in the John Hughes movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. That same year, Roxanne , the film adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac which Martin co-wrote, won him a Writers Guild of America Award. It also garnered recognition from Hollywood and the public that he was more than a comedian. In 1988, he performed in the Frank Oz film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels , a remake of Bedtime Story , alongside Michael Caine. Also in 1988, he appeared at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in a revival of Waiting for Godot directed by Mike Nichols. He played Vladimir, with Robin Williams as Estragon and Bill Irwin as Lucky.
Martin starred in the Ron Howard film Parenthood , with Rick Moranis in 1989. He later re-teamed with Moranis in the Mafia comedy My Blue Heaven (1990). In 1991, Martin starred in and wrote L.A. Story , a romantic comedy, in which the female lead was played by his then-wife Victoria Tennant. Martin also appeared in Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon , in which he played the tightly wound Hollywood film producer, Davis, who was recovering from a traumatic robbery that left him injured, which was a more serious role for him. Martin also starred in a remake of the comedy Father of the Bride in 1991 (followed by a sequel in 1995) and in the 1992 comedy Housesitter , with Goldie Hawn and Dana Delany. In 1994, he starred in A Simple Twist of Fate ; a film adaptation of Silas Marner .
In David Mamet's 1997 thriller The Spanish Prisoner , Martin played a darker role as a wealthy stranger who takes a suspicious interest in the work of a young businessman (Campbell Scott). He went on to star with Eddie Murphy in the 1999 comedy Bowfinger, which Martin also wrote.
In 1998, Martin guest starred with U2 in the 200th episode of The Simpsons titled "Trash of the Titans", providing the voice for sanitation commissioner Ray Patterson. In 1999, Martin and Hawn starred in a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon comedy, The Out-of-Towners . By 2003, Martin ranked fourth on the box office stars list, after starring in Bringing Down The House and Cheaper by the Dozen , each of which earned over $130 million at U.S. theaters. That same year, he also played the villainous Mr. Chairman in the animation/live action blend, Looney Tunes: Back in Action .
In 2005, Martin wrote and starred in Shopgirl , based on his own novella (2000), and starred in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 . In 2006, he starred in the box office hit The Pink Panther , as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. He reprised the role in 2009's The Pink Panther 2 . When combined, the two films grossed over $230 million at the box office. In Baby Mama (2008), Martin played the founder of a health food company, and in It's Complicated (2009), he played opposite Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. In 2009, an article in The Guardian listed Martin as one of the best actors never to receive an Oscar nomination. In 2011, he appeared with Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and JoBeth Williams in the birdwatching comedy The Big Year . After a three-year hiatus, Martin returned in 2015 when he voiced a role in the animated film Home. In 2016, he played a supporting role in the war drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk .
In 1993, Martin wrote his first full-length play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile . The first reading of the play took place in Beverly Hills, California, at Steve Martin's home, with Tom Hanks reading the role of Pablo Picasso and Chris Sarandon reading the role of Albert Einstein. Following this, the play opened at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, and played from October 1993 to May 1994, then went on to run successfully in Los Angeles, New York City, and several other US cities.In 2009, the school board in La Grande, Oregon, refused to allow the play to be performed after several parents complained about the content. In an open letter in the local Observer newspaper, Martin wrote:
|“||I have heard that some in your community have characterized the play as 'people drinking in bars, and treating women as sex objects.' With apologies to William Shakespeare, this is like calling Hamlet a play about a castle [...] I will finance a non-profit, off-high school campus production [...] so that individuals, outside the jurisdiction of the school board but within the guarantees of freedom of expression provided by the Constitution of the United States can determine whether they will or will not see the play.||”|
Throughout the 1990s, Martin wrote various pieces for The New Yorker . In 2002, he adapted the Carl Sternheim play The Underpants , which ran Off Broadway at Classic Stage Company, and in 2008 co-wrote and produced Traitor , starring Don Cheadle. He has also written the novellas Shopgirl (2000) and The Pleasure of My Company (2003), both more wry in tone than raucous.A story of a 28-year-old woman behind the glove counter at the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills, Shopgirl was made into a film starring Martin and Claire Danes. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2005 and was featured at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival before going into limited release in the US. In 2007, he published a memoir, Born Standing Up , which Time magazine named as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2007, ranking it at No. 6, and praising it as "a funny, moving, surprisingly frank memoir." In 2010, he published the novel An Object of Beauty.
Martin's play Meteor Shower opened at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in August 2016,and went on to Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre later the same year. The play opened on Broadway at the Booth Theater on November 29, 2017. The cast features Amy Schumer, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Shamos and Keegan-Michael Key, with direction by Jerry Zaks.
Martin wrote the story for the Disney movie Magic Camp , which will be released in 2019.
Beginning in 2019, Martin has collaborated with cartoonist Harry Bliss as a writer for the syndicated comic panel Bliss.
Martin hosted the Academy Awards solo in 2001 and 2003, and with Alec Baldwin in 2010. [ when? ] plays in the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln .In 2005, Martin co-hosted Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years , marking the park's anniversary. Disney continued to run the show until March 2009, which now
Martin first picked up the banjo when he was around 17 years of age. Martin has stated in several interviews and in his memoir, Born Standing Up, that he used to take 33 rpm bluegrass records and slow them down to 16 rpm and tune his banjo down, so the notes would sound the same. Martin was able to pick out each note and perfect his playing.
Martin learned how to play the banjo with help from John McEuen, who later joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. McEuen's brother later managed Martin as well as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Martin did his stand-up routine opening for the band in the early 1970s. He had the band play on his hit song "King Tut", being credited as "The Toot Uncommons" (as in Tutankhamun).
The banjo was a staple of Martin's 1970s stand-up career, and he periodically poked fun at his love for the instrument.On the Comedy Is Not Pretty! album, he included an all-instrumental jam, titled "Drop Thumb Medley", and played the track on his 1979 concert tour. His final comedy album, The Steve Martin Brothers (1981), featured one side of Martin's typical stand-up material, with the other side featuring live performances of Steve playing banjo with a bluegrass band.
In 2001, he played banjo on Earl Scruggs's remake of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown". The recording was the winner of the Best Country Instrumental Performance category at the Grammy Awards of 2002. In 2008, Martin appeared with the band, In the Minds of the Living, during a show in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In 2009, Martin released his first all-music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo with appearances from stars such as Dolly Parton.The album won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member John McEuen produced the album.
Martin made his first appearance on The Grand Ole Opry on May 30, 2009.In the American Idol season eight finals, he performed alongside Michael Sarver and Megan Joy in the song "Pretty Flowers". In June, Martin played banjo along with the Steep Canyon Rangers on A Prairie Home Companion and began a two-month U.S. tour with the Rangers in September, including appearances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, Carnegie Hall and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. In November, they went on to play at the Royal Festival Hall in London with support from Mary Black. In 2010, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers appeared at the New Orleans Jazzfest, Merlefest Bluegrass Festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at Bonnaroo Music Festival, at the ROMP Bluegrass Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, at the Red Butte Garden Concert series and on the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland . Martin performed "Jubilation Day" with the Steep Canyon Rangers on The Colbert Report on March 21, 2011, on Conan on May 3, 2011, and on BBC's The One Show on July 6, 2011. Martin performed a song he wrote called "Me and Paul Revere" in addition to two other songs on the lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, at the "Capitol Fourth Celebration" on July 4, 2011. In 2011, Martin also narrated and appeared in the PBS documentary "Give me the Banjo" chronicling the history of the banjo in America.
Love Has Come for You , a collaboration album with Edie Brickell, was released in April 2013.The two made musical guest appearances on talk shows, such as The View and Late Show with David Letterman , to promote the album. The title track won the Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song. Starting in May 2013, he is touring with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell throughout the United States. In 2015, Brickell and Martin released So Familiar as the second installment of their partnership. Inspired by Love has Come for You, Martin and Brickell collaborated on his first musical, Bright Star. It is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945–46, with flashbacks to 1923. The musical debuted on Broadway on March 24, 2016.
In 2017, Martin and Brickell appeared in the multi award-winning documentary film The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon. Recording live direct-to-disc on the first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s,they performed a version of “The Coo Coo Bird” a traditional song that Martin learned from the 1960s folk music group The Holy Modal Rounders. The song was featured on the film soundtrack, Music from The American Epic Sessions released on June 9, 2017.
In 2010, Martin created the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, an award established to reward artistry and bring greater visibility to bluegrass performers. The prize includes a US$50,000 cash award, a bronze sculpture created by the artist Eric Fischl, and a chance to perform with Martin on Late Show with David Letterman . Recipients include Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers band (2010),Sammy Shelor of Lonesome River Band (2011), Mark Johnson (2012), Jens Kruger (2013), Eddie Adcock (2014), Danny Barnes (2015), Rhiannon Giddens (2016), and Scott Vestal (2017).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Martin was in a relationship with actress/singer/dancer Bernadette Peters; they co-starred in two films, The Jerk and Pennies from Heaven , during that time.
Martin married actress Victoria Tennant on November 20, 1986; they divorced in 1994.On July 28, 2007, after three years together, Martin married Anne Stringfield, a writer and former staffer for The New Yorker magazine. Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey presided over the ceremony at Martin's Los Angeles home. Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live , was best man. Several of the guests, including close friends Tom Hanks, Eugene Levy, comedian and film director Carl Reiner, and magician/actor Ricky Jay, were not informed that a wedding ceremony would take place. Instead, they were told they were invited to a party and were surprised by the nuptials. In December 2012, Martin became a father for the first time when Stringfield gave birth to a daughter.
Martin has been an avid art collector since 1968, when he bought a print by the Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha. million. In 2015, working with two other curators, he organized a show, "The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris", to introduce Americans to Canadian painter and Group of Seven co-founder Lawren Harris.In 2001, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art presented a five-month exhibit of 28 items from Martin's collection, including works by Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, and Edward Hopper, among others. In 2006, he sold Hopper's Hotel Window (1955) at Sotheby's for $26.8
Investigators at Berlin's state criminal police office (LKA) think that Martin was a victim of German art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi. In July 2004, Martin purchased what he believed to be a 1915 work by the German-Dutch painter Heinrich Campendonk, Landschaft mit Pferden (Landscape with Horses), from a Paris gallery for what should have been a bargain price of around €700,000. Before the purchase, an expert authenticated the work and identified the painter's signature on a label attached to the back. Fifteen months later, the painting was sold at auction to a Swiss businesswoman for €500,000. Police believe the fake Campendonk originated from an invented art collection devised by a group of German swindlers caught in 2010. Skillfully forged paintings from this group were sold to French galleries like the one where Martin bought the forgery.
Martin has had tinnitus since filming a pistol-shooting scene for the film Three Amigos in 1986. He has been quoted as saying, "You just get used to it, or you go insane."
Martin's offbeat, ironic, and deconstructive style of humor has influenced many comedians during his career. This includes Bo Burnham,Stephen Colbert, Robert Smigel, and Jordan Peele.
|Album||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
| Billboard 200 || US Bluegrass |
|Let's Get Small||1977||10||—|
|A Wild and Crazy Guy||1978||2||—|
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band soundtrack||1978||5||—|
|Comedy Is Not Pretty!||1979||25||—|
|The Steve Martin Brothers||1981||135||—|
|Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack||1986||—||—|
|The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo||2009||93||1|
|Rare Bird Alert (with Steep Canyon Rangers)||2011||43||1|
|Love Has Come for You (with Edie Brickell)||2013||21||1|
|Live(with Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell)||2014||—||1|
|So Familiar (with Edie Brickell)||2015||126||1|
|The Long-Awaited Album (with Steep Canyon Rangers)||2017||189||1|
|"—" denotes a title that did not chart.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions|
|"Pretty Little One" (Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell)||2014||—|
|"Jubilation Day"||2011||Ryan Reichenfeld|
|"Pretty Little One"||2014||David Horn|
|"Won't Go Back" |
(with Edie Brickell)
|So Familiar||2018||Laurence Jacobs|
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Edie Brickell & New Bohemians is an alternative rock jam band that originated in Dallas, Texas, in the mid-1980s. The band is widely known for their 1988 hit "What I Am" from the album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. Their music contains elements of rock, folk, blues, and jazz. Following the release of their 1990 second album Ghost of a Dog, lead singer Edie Brickell left the band and married singer-songwriter Paul Simon. In 2006, she and the band launched a new web site and released a new album, Stranger Things.
Martin Eugene Mull is an American actor and comedian who has appeared in many television and film roles. He is also a painter and recording artist. As an actor, he first became known in his role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off Fernwood 2 Night. Among his other notable roles are Colonel Mustard in the 1985 film Clue, Leon Carp on Roseanne, Willard Kraft on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Vlad Plasmius on Danny Phantom, and Gene Parmesan on Arrested Development. He had a recurring role on Two and a Half Men as Russell, the drug-using, humorous pharmacist.
Edie Arlisa Brickell is an American singer-songwriter widely known for 1988's Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, the debut album by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, which went to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. She is married to Paul Simon.
Rounder Records is an American record label specializing in folk, bluegrass, blues, and other forms of American roots music. Its roster includes Alison Krauss and Union Station, Béla Fleck, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Steep Canyon Rangers. Rounder's musicians have won over 40 Grammy Awards since the label's inception in 1970. The company also maintains book and video divisions.
Edward Parker Helms is an American actor, comedian, and singer. He is known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show as well as playing Andy Bernard in the NBC sitcom The Office, and Stuart Price in The Hangover trilogy. He also provided the voice of The Once-ler in Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax and Captain Underpants in Dreamworks Animation's Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
Demetri Evan Martin is an American comedian, actor, director, cartoonist and musician. He was a contributor on The Daily Show. In stand-up, he is known for his deadpan delivery, playing his guitar for jokes, and his satirical cartoons. He currently stars as Ice Bear in the Cartoon Network animated series We Bare Bears.
Anthony Cattel Trischka is an American five-string banjo player.
Delano Floyd "Del" McCoury is an American bluegrass musician. As leader of the Del McCoury Band, he plays guitar and sings lead vocals along with his two sons, Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury, who play mandolin and banjo respectively. In June 2010, he received a National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2011 he was elected into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
Danny Barnes is a banjo player, singer, and composer whose music is influenced by country, jazz, blues, punk, metal, and more. He has been described as a "banjo virtuoso" and is "widely acknowledged as one of the best banjo players in America." He was a founding member of the Austin trio the Bad Livers, with whom he toured and recorded extensively from 1990 to 2000. Since then, he has performed and recorded as a solo artist, as well as collaborating with Bill Frisell, Dave Matthews, Jeff Austin and other musicians. In 2013, Barnes and Max Brody formed the Test Apes. In September 2015, Barnes was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, in recognition of his role as "one of bluegrass music’s most distinctive and innovative performers." Martin’s website said of Barnes’ work: "The raw and unpolished musical breadth of his compositions has propelled him across the industry today."
Bryan Sutton is an American musician. Primarily known as a flatpicked acoustic guitar player, Sutton also plays mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and electric guitar. He also sings and writes songs.
Doyle Lawson is an American traditional bluegrass and Southern gospel musician. He is best known as an accomplished mandolin player, vocalist, producer, and leader of the 6-man group Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Grascals are a six-piece bluegrass band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in February of 2004, the band has gained a level of notoriety by playing on the Grand Ole Opry and bluegrass festivals around the country, as well as with the legendary Dolly Parton.
Noam Pikelny is an American banjoist. He is a member of the group Punch Brothers and was previously in Leftover Salmon as well as the John Cowan Band.
Steep Canyon Rangers is an American bluegrass band based in Asheville and Brevard, North Carolina. Though formed in 2000, the band has become widely known since 2009 for collaborating with actor/banjoist Steve Martin. In 2013, the Steep Canyon Rangers' solo album Nobody Knows You won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. The previous year, their 2012 collaboration with Steve Martin, Rare Bird Alert, was nominated for the same award. Steep Canyon Rangers have recorded 9 solo albums plus two collaborative albums with Steve Martin. SCR performed as a quintet for nearly a decade before intermittent touring began as a sextet with Steve Martin; the band still performs in both configurations. In May 2013, Steve Martin and SCR began performing with Edie Brickell after she and Martin co-wrote and recorded an album together, Love Has Come for You.
Rare Bird Alert is a 2011 bluegrass album by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring guest appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. This is Martin's second consecutive musical album, and comprises 13 songs. His first all-music album was 2009's The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. Rare Bird Alert was first released on March 15, 2011. The album was nominated for a Grammy on November 30, 2011. "King Tut" is a new bluegrass arrangement of a song that had been a Billboard Top 20 hit for Martin in 1978.
The Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song is a new award category at the annual Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to recording artists for quality songs in the American Roots Music genres such as blues, bluegrass, folk, Americana and regional roots music. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".
Love Has Come for You is a 2013 bluegrass music CD featuring a 13 song collaboration of original songs by Steve Martin (music) and Edie Brickell (lyrics). The album cover art is a painting entitled "After Dinner Drinks" (2008) by Martin Mull; the original work is in Steve Martin's personal art collection. Produced by Peter Asher, the album features musical appearances by Esperanza Spalding, Sara Watkins, Waddy Wachtel and others. The record also features all five members of Steep Canyon Rangers who would back Martin and Brickell for the duration of the tour following the record release.
Nicky Sanders is a Grammy Award-winning, American fiddle player specializing in Bluegrass music. He is best known for his work with the band Steep Canyon Rangers along with banjo player and comedian Steve Martin. Raised in San Francisco, he began studying classical violin at age of five. In his youth, he acted as concertmaster of the Young People's Symphony Orchestra in Berkeley, California. He later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, studying classical and jazz performance (violin) as well as 20th-century classical music composition.
So Familiar is a studio album by bluegrass duo Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It was released on October 30, 2015 by Rounder Records.
Bright Star is a musical written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945-46 with flashbacks to 1923. The musical is inspired by their Grammy-winning collaboration on the 2013 bluegrass album Love Has Come for You and, in turn, the folk story of the Iron Mountain Baby.