Martin at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall in New York City in April 2011. Photo via Joella Marano/Wikimedia Commons
Martin at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall in New York City in April 2011. Photo via Joella Marano/Wikimedia Commons

Steve Martin will receive the American Film Institute’s highest honor for a career in film, it was announced Friday.

The 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award will be presented to Martin at a gala tribute in Los Angeles next year. The June 4 tribute will be taped to air on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies.

Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees, called Martin “an American original.”

“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,” Stringer said. “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.”

Martin began his career writing for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” earning an Emmy Award in 1969 for his work.

Through the 1970s, he appeared on a number of TV shows, including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as as comedy essays and albums.

Martin’s first film was a seven-minute short he wrote and starred in, “The Absent-Minded Waiter,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for best live action short in 1977.

His breakout film role came in 1979, as the sweet and clueless Navin Johnson in “The Jerk,” which he also co-wrote.

His other film credits include “Pennies From Heaven,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “The Man With Two Brains,” “Three Amigos!,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “All of Me,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Roxanne,” “Father of the Bride” parts I and II, “Parenthood,” “Grand Canyon,” “L.A. Story” and “Shopgirl,” a film which he wrote based on his own novella of the same name.

Martin is also a playwright an accomplished musician who has won four Grammy Awards. 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.”

—City News Service

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