All of Me
“Yes, I'm an actor, a playwright and a novelist, but don't forget juggling too. I don't rate my talents. They come as they come. You don't make career choices. It just happens to you. I never planned to be an actor. I wanted to be a comic. If I'd started out as an actor, I'd still be on the audition line, for sure.” Steve Martin
Actor, writer, and comedian Steve Martin made a successful transformation from being one of the most popular standup comics of the 1970s to an appreciated film actor of the 1980s and 1990s. He gained wide appreciation playing lawyer Roger Cobb, whose body is occupied by the soul of a woman, in director Carl Reiner’s comedy All of Me (1984). His magnificent performance took home such awards as a National Board of Review Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award. In 1987, Martin received recognition as an actor, as well as a writer, for his bright work in the Fred Schepisi-directed comedy/romance Roxanne (1987), where he picked up a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and a Writers Guild of America Award. In his long-term career, Steve Martin also won two People's Choice Awards (1992 and 1993), an American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award (2000), a Boston Film Festival Award (2001) and a Mark Twain Prize Award (2005).
Martin’s early career is also marked with successful comedy albums Let’s Get Small (1977) and A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978). In addition to spawning such popular catch phrases as “Excuse me,” “Happy feet” and “I am...one wild and crazy guy,” the albums garnered Martin two Grammy Awards.
As an accomplished writer, Martin wooed critics for his sparkling partnership in “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” (1967-68), where he won an Emmy Award. He went on to write, and in 1975, receiving an Emmy nomination for his work on the TV movie Van Dyke and Company. Martin also scripted the Academy Award-nominating short The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977, also as an actor). Martin gained even more acclaim when he wrote the successful play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” (1993), in which he netted a 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award. As a prose writer, Martin released his best seller novella Shopgirl in 2001, a story of a miserable glove saleswoman struggling to choose between a would-be musician and a wealthy married man. He also wrote The Pleasure of My Company and 1999’s Pure Drivel, a compilation of his whimsically absurdist essays for New Yorker magazine. Shopgirl was recently translated into a 2005 film which starred Martin as the well-to-do suitor of a glove salesgirl in Beverly Hills (Claire Danes).
Out off the spotlight, silver-haired Martin was once named the 6th of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time” and chosen as the 50th of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2003. As for his romantic life, Martin was once married to actress Victoria Tennant, but they later divorced in 1994. The comedian was also once romantically linked to actresses Bernadette Peters, Anne Heche and Kristin Davis. In 2003, he was rumored to be romantically involved with new girlfriend Anne Stringfield, a New Yorker magazine’s deputy head of fact-checking.
Keen Art Collector
Childhood and Family:
Son of a real estate executive, Stephen Glenn Martin, who would later be famous as Steve Martin, was born on August 14, 1945, in Waco, Texas. When he was 5, Steve and his parents, Glenn Vernon Martin and Mary Lee Stewart, relocated to Inglewood, California, and they finally settled in Garden Grove, California. Steve attended Garden Grove High School, but later moved to Rancho Alamitos High School. As a teenager, Steve worked part-time at the Magic Shop at Disneyland, where he grew his skills for juggling, magic, playing the banjo and creating balloon animals. With his classmate, Steve also performed comedy routines at local coffee houses and at the Bird Cage Theater in Knott’s Berry Farm.
“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 nonsequitur so hard away from the things that set it up, that it's easy... and it's thrilling.” Steve Martin
Upon graduation in 1963, Steve wanted to study philosophy and enrolled at California State University, in Long Beach, but soon turned his attention to acting and left his studies. He next transferred as a theater major to the University of California, in Los Angeles, but again dropped out to become a comedy writer. Steve later attended the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, New York.
A blend of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh descent, Steve tied the knot with actress Victoria Tennant (born on September 30, 1950) on November 20, 1986. After seven years of marriage, however, the couple separated and finally divorced in 1994.
Off screen, Martin is a passionate art collector of particularly modern American art, and a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His private collection includes the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, John Henry Twachtman, Richard Diebenkorn, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Cy Twombly, Helen Frankenthaler, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Pablo Picasso, among others.
Steve Martin found a knack for the performing arts at a very young age. At age 7, young Martin landed his first acting role as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in his second-grade play. When he was a teenager, Martin had several odd jobs, including doing magic tricks, playing the banjo and creating balloon animals. 16-year-old Martin appeared in Wally Boag’s “It’s Vaudeville Again” at Disneyland, and he performed stand-up comedy at local coffee houses and at the Bird Cage Theater in Knott’s Berry Farm. By the time he quit college, Martin’s mounting love of comedy had blossomed when he landed a job as a comedy writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-68). Along with other writers, his brilliant collaboration garnered Martin an Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy. He also wrote for the TV series “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” (1969).
Martin, with his comic talents, eventually broke into television in 1970 when he was hired as a regular performer in “The Ray Stevens Show” (1970). He also amused audiences in such series as “Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour” (1972), “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” (1972-73) and “The Ken Berry 'Wow' Show” (1972). Martin’s frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1972-1976) led to his first big break; a guest host for the popular Saturday Night Live show in 1976. His innovative and mocking humor made him an instant star.
Martin gained even more recognition in the following year when he released his first comedy album titled Let's Get Small (1977). The album was a huge success and even one of its tracks, “Excuse Me,” became a national catch phrase. Due to his bright work, Martin netted a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording in 1977. His follow-up, A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978), acquired a bigger victory than its predecessor. In addition to spawning popular catch phrases like “Happy feet” and “I am...one wild and crazy guy,” the album also produced a comedy hit song titled “King Tut.”
Already popular among fans as a stand up comedian, Martin broke into film in 1977 with a short titled The Absent-Minded Waiter, in which he also served as a writer. Also featuring Buck Henry and Teri Garr, the film received a nomination at the Academy Awards for Best Short Film, Live Action. After his film debut in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), Martin’s breakout role arrive when he played the lead, Navin R. Johnson, in director Carl Reiner‘s comedy The Jerk (1979, also wrote).
More roles in film followed after the success of The Jerk. Martin gave a strong and touching performance as traveling salesman Arthur Parker in the big screen adaptation of Pennies from Heaven (1981), rejoined Reiner for the 1982 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and the sci-fi comedy The Man with Two Brains (1983) and The Lonely Guy (1984). He also appeared on TV in the late-night series Twilight Theater (1982, played various characters).
Martin’s big breakthrough as an actor arrived in 1984 with the starring role of an attorney named Roger Cobb, whose body is inhabited by the soul of a woman (Lily Tomlin), in the comedy-romance All of Me, for director Carl Reiner. Delivering an outstanding acting performance, Martin won a National Board of Review, a New York Film Critics Circle and a National Society of Film Critics for Best Actor.
In 1986, Martin found himself acting with fellow Saturday Night Live veterans Martin Short and Chevy Chase in the Western Three Amigos, which was helmed by John Landis and written by Martin, Lorne Michaels and Randy Newman. That same year, he received critical raves playing vicious dentist Orin Scrivello in the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors (1986, opposite Rick Moranis).
The actor’s next big break came in 1987 when Martin executive produced, co-wrote and starred in the Fred Schepisi-directed comedy/romance Roxanne (1987, opposite Daryl Hannah), a modern adaptation of the story of Cyrano De Bergerac. His attractive and touching acting again garnered praise and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Actor. Moreover, his writing talent handed Martin a Writers Guild of America for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. The success provided evidence for the public that Martin was more than just a comedian.
The following years saw Martin team up with comedian John Candy in John Hughes’ Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), costar with Rick Moranis in Ron Howard’s Parenthood (1989), portray thug Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Antonelli in the comedy My Blue Heaven (1990), co-executive produce, write and star in the quirky romantic comedy L.A. Story (1991, opposite Victoria Tennant), play agitated dad George Stanley Banks in the remake of the successful Father of the Bride (1991,alongside Diane Keaton), be seen as a Joel Silver-like movie producer in Lawrence Kasdan’s drama Grand Canyon (1991), star as an edgy architect whose life is interrupted by female grifter Goldie Hawn, in HouseSitter (1992) and portray fraud faith healer Jonas Nightengale in the box office failure Leap of Faith (1992). Martin was the recipient of two People's Choice awards for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Actor in 1992 and in 1993. After taking two-years off from film, Martin returned in 1994 with the adaptation of George Eliot’s “Silas Marner,” A Simple Twist of Fate, where he executive produced, scripted and starred in. He was back to more conventional comedy with Mixed Nuts (1994), but the film was a failure. Martin reprised his role, George Banks, for the sequel Father of the Bride Part II in 1995 and had the title character in Sgt. Bilko in the following year.
In 1996, Martin won a John Gassner Playwriting at the Outer Critics Circle for his spectacular playwriting debut, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” The play, which was written in 1993, is a comic fantasy about a meeting between the renowned painter and Albert Einstein in a Paris bar in 1904 shortly before they achieved international recognition. “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” started out in an Australian workshop and debuted in Chicago as a Steppenwolf Theatre Company presentation. By 1994, it had been a hit in Los Angeles, and opened Off-Broadway in the fall of 1995 to highly regarded reviews.
Before voicing cunning servant Hotep in DreamWorks’ animated musical The Prince of Egypt (1998), Martin delivered the powerful supporting role of mystifying businessman Julian ‘Jimmy’ Dell in David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner (1998). After rejoining Goldie Hawn for the remake of The Out-of-Towners (1999), Martin once more gained notice for the 1999 Bowfinger, a comedy-satire that cast him as its titular hero against Eddy Murphy. In the later film, Martin also served as a writer.
After a supporting role in Stanley Tucci’s drama Joe Gould’s Secret (2000), Martin joined Helena Bonham Carter and Laura Dern in the dark comedy Novocaine (2001), in which he was cast as dentist Frank Sangster. The same year, Martin hosted the annual telecast of the Academy Awards and earned an Emmy nomination for his fine performance, which led to another invitation in 2003. Martin costarred as a lonesome lawyer, with Queen Latifah, for the hit comedy Bringing Down the House (2003) and portrayed the villainous Chairman of the Acme Corporation in the mix of live action and animated Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003, opposite Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman and Bugs Bunny). He was then seen as the father of a dozen children in the comedy Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), before taking another hiatus to concentrate on writing.
“I wrote a novel this year called ‘Shop Girl’ and several producers came to me and wanted to turn it into a movie. And I said, ‘If you think you're going to take this book and change it around, and Hollywoodize it and change the ending... that's going to cost you.’” Steve Martin on Shop Girl
Recently, the actor released the wide screen version of his own novella titled Shop Girl (2005), where he played Ray Porter, opposite Claire Danes. Martin will return for the installment Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), and in 2006, he will add the upcoming The Pink Panther (2006) and Picasso at the Lapin Agile (2005) to his impressive resume.
- Mark Twain Prize: American Humor, 2005.
- Boston Film Festival: Film Excellence Award, 2001
- American Comedy: Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, 2000
- Outer Critics Circle: John Gassner Playwrighting Award, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, 1996
- People's Choice: Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Actor, 1993
- People's Choice: Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Actor, 1992
- Writers Guild of America: Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Roxanne, 1988
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Roxanne, 1987
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Actor, All of Me, 1985
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, All of Me, 1984
- National Board of Review: Best Actor, All of Me, 1984
- Grammy: Best Comedy Recording, A Wild and Crazy Guy, 1978
- Grammy: Best Comedy Recording, Let's Get Small, 1977
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety or Music, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 1968 -1969