The American Film Institute announced Friday that comedian-actor-musician-writer-banjo player Steve Martin is the recipient of the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award.
Previous winners of the prestigious honor include Jane Fonda, Mel Brooks, James Cagney, John Ford, Sidney Poitier, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas.
“Steve Martin is an American original,” said Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the American Film Institute’s board of trustees in a statement. “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.”
Beginning his career as writer on the classic late 1960s CBS comedy variety series, “The Smothers Brothers Show,” Martin went on to became one of hottest stand-up comedians in the U.S. in the 1970s. He wrote and starred in the 1977 comedy short, “The Absent-Minded Waiter,” which was nominated for a best short film, live action Academy Award.
Martin’s first starring role in Carl Reiner’s 1979 comedy “The Jerk,” which he also co-wrote, was a blockbuster hit. And over the years, he’s starred in such popular comedies as “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” (1982); “All of Me” (1984); “Roxanne” (1987), which he also wrote; “Father of the Bride” (1991); and 2003’s “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
He’s won four Grammy Awards, including for best American roots song for “Love Has Come for You,” which he wrote with Edie Brickell, from their album of the same name. That album inspired the duo’s new musical, “Bright Star,” which recently opened at the Old Globe in San Diego.
Martin is also a recipient of an Emmy, a Kennedy Center Honor and an honorary Oscar.
He’ll receive the AFI Life Achievement Award at a gala tribute in Los Angeles on June 4; the tribute special will air later that month on TNT with encore presentations on Turner Classic Movies.