Steve Martin to Receive 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award
America's Highest Honor for a Career in Film to be Presented June 4, 2015
Tribute to Air on TNT in June 2015, with Encore on Turner Classic Movies
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute's Board of Trustees, announced today the Board's decision to honor Steve Martin with the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film. 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."
One of the most diversified performers and acclaimed artists of his generation, Steve Martin is an actor, comedian, author, playwright, screenwriter, producer and musician. Recipient of an Emmy(R), four Grammy(R) Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor and an Honorary Oscar(R), 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 made a number of memorable TV appearances, 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(R) for Best Live Action Short Film in 1977. In 1979, he had a breakout 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. He recently premiered his new musical Bright Star at the Old Globe Theater, featuring original music by Martin and songwriter Edie Brickell, inspired by their Grammy-winning collaboration "Love Has Come For You."
About Steve Martin
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. He then left college altogether to become a comedy writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, winning an Emmy(R) 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 Grammys(R) 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 for 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.
About the AFI Life Achievement Award?
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees in 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of 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. Among Fonda's family, friends and collaborators who shared stories about the honoree were Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Sally Field, Peter Fonda, Troy Garity, Eva Longoria and Lily Tomlin.
About 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.
TNT is television's destination for drama. Seen in 101 million households and ranking among cable's top networks, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes, Falling Skies, The Last Ship, Murder in the First, Legends, Perception, Dallas and Franklin & Bash. TNT's upcoming slate of original scripted dramas includes The Librarians, Public Morals, Proof and Transporter The Series, which will make its U.S. television debut on the network this fall. TNT also features such dramatic unscripted series as Cold Justice and the upcoming On the Menu and Wake Up Call. In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like Castle, Bones and Supernatural; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards(R); blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
TNT is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. TCM, which is available in more than 85 million homes, features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. Currently in its 20th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials; film series like The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore, and Friday Night Spotlight; and annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar(R) in February, Summer Under 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 through the Watch TCM mobile app.
TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.