Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American comedian, author, and musician who first became famous as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. After appearing on Saturday Night Live as a guest host, he quickly became (and still is) one of the most popular comedians in the United States. Since the 1980's, he has focused more on acting than stand-up comedy. Martin is also well known as an accomplished banjo player and would often play the instrument during stand-up comedy shows in the 1970s. He has released five albums of bluegrass music and he has won more Grammys as a musician than he has for his comedy albums. He has recently returned to touring, but instead of stand-up comedy, it's with the bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers.
He was never a cast member of SNL (a common misconception)—he was a cast member on Lorne Michaels' failed ABC prime-time sketch series The New Show, but was only a frequent host on SNL—but Martin still became very close with several of the cast members, including Gilda Radner. On the day Radner died from ovarian cancer in 1989, Martin was to host SNL; after introducing a video clip of him and Radner appearing in a 1978 sketch, he became overcome with grief and started to cry.
Steve Martin is a surprisingly deep guy; he has a degree in philosophy. He has done a significant amount of writing, not only penning screenplays for some of his best movies (LA Story, Roxanne, Bowfinger) but also stage plays (Picasso at the Lapin Agile) and novellas (Shop Girl, The Pleasure of My Company.) He is also the owner of one of southern California's finest private collections of modern art—and it has been implied by many, including Martin, that expanding his collection is the motivation behind his taking such roles as Bringing Down the House and The Pink Panther.
Martin has guest-hosted Saturday Night Live 15 times. When he made his 11th appearance in 1989, he surpassed Buck Henry as the most frequent host in the history of the show, a title he held for 22 years until Alec Baldwin overtook him in 2011 with 16.
Not to be confused with Dick Martin, co-host of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
- The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977)
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)
- The Jerk (1979)
- Pennies from Heaven (1981)
- Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
- The Man with Two Brains (1983)
- The Lonely Guy (1984)
- All of Me (1984)
- ¡Three Amigos! (1986)
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) - Martin considers this his best performance.
- Roxanne (1987)
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
- Parenthood (1989)
- My Blue Heaven (1990)
- Father of the Bride (1991)
- Grand Canyon (1991)
- L.A. Story (1991)
- Housesitter (1992)
- Leap of Faith (1992)
- A Simple Twist Of Fate (1994)
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
- Sgt Bilko (1996)
- The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
- The Prince of Egypt (as the voice of Hotep)
- The Out Of Towners
- Bowfinger (1999)
- Novocaine (2001)
- Bringing Down the House (2003)
- Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
- Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)
- Shopgirl (2005) - Martin starred in the film and also wrote the novella upon which it's based.
- The Pink Panther (2006)
- Baby Mama (2008)
- The Pink Panther 2 (2009)
- It's Complicated (2009)
- The Big Year (2011)
- Home (2014)
- Love the Coopers (as the voice of Rags the dog)
- Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)
- Let's Get Small (1977)
- A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978)
- Comedy Is Not Pretty! (1979) - Final standup album.
- The Steve Martin Brothers (1981) - Standup and songs.
- The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (2009) (with the Steep Canyon Rangers) - First album entirely of songs, Grammy Award winner for Best Bluegrass Album.
- Rare Bird Alert (2011) (with the Steep Canyon Rangers)
- Love Has Come for You (2013) (with Edie Brickell)
- So Familiar (2015) (with Edie Brickell) - Later adapted into the Broadway show Bright Star.
- The Long Awaited Album (2017) (with The Steep Canyon Rangers)
- Academy Awards Ceremonies: Hosted the show on 3 occasions (once alongside Alec Baldwin), to great acclaim. Although he never earned a competitive nomination for his work as an actor or writer (despite some saying he could have for All of Me or Roxanne), he was eventually given an Honorary Oscar of his own in 2013.
- Artistic License History: His One-Hit Wonder song "King Tut" uses the rhyme "Born in Arizona / Moved to Babylonia" which is a great rhyme, though Tutankhamun was neither born in Arizona nor ever went to Babylonia.
- Catch-Phrase: "Well EXCUUUUUUUUSE ME!" for a while there during his stand-up days.
- Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: As mentioned above, Steve Martin was never a cast member on Saturday Night Live (contrary to popular belief), but he hosted so many times and was a memorable part of the show in its early days that he could have been one of them. Martin was on Lorne Michaels failed prime-time sketch show The New Show (which was such a critical and ratings failure that it made Lorne Michaels consider coming back to SNL after leaving the show from 1980 to 1985).
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The TV special Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980) has a short film of Martin acting out the entire storyline from Marty Robbins' song "El Paso" — with all of the other characters played by chimps!
- Funny Foreigner: He and Dan Aykroyd played Georg and Yortuk Festrunk, Czech immigrants and swinging bachelors, in a series of early SNL sketches. Steve also carried over the voice to his stand-up, and the characters also appear in the 1981 prime time special Steve Martin's Best Show Ever.
- Just Like Making Love: "Hosting the Oscars is much like making love to a woman. It's something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town."note
- MayDecember Romance: Martin and his wife Anne Stringfield, who's nearly thirty years his junior. At 67 he became a father the first time when she gave birth to their daughter.
- Morality Ballad: "Grandmother's Song", a staple of his early stand-up act, parodies this trope by turning into Word Salad Lyrics.
- Name's the Same: No, he wasn't the lead singer of the Baroque Pop band The Left Banke back in The '60s, even though he is an accomplished musician.
- Nor was he in the American footage from Godzilla: King of the Monsters!.
- Punchline: Averted. Along with Monty Python, Martin was one of the first comedians on the 1970s comedy scene who experimented with comedy that had no punchlines, making him an early example of what would eventually become "alternative" comedy. In his autobiography, he described it as not allowing the audience the release of tension which came with a designated cue to laugh, keeping them on their toes and making sure they clung to his every word.
- Reclusive Artist: Rarely, if ever, signs autographs, instead handing out cards that read "This is irrefutable proof that you met me and think I'm a great guy." note
- Silver Fox: His hair was already greying in the late 70's, but still looks good.
- Even Rachel Ward (of The Thorn Birds fame), who was regarded as quite a beauty in her prime, admitted that Steve Martin was one of the few comedians who was attractive (calling him a "hunk"). Even if her compliment turned into something that was slightly backhanded (as she mentioned that once Martin started talking, all of his hunk-ness faded away).
- Small Name, Big Ego: Since the beginning, his stage persona has been someone who genuinely believes he's the funniest, most talented performer ever whether or not the audience agrees with him (this was initially to combat stage fright). It eventually evolved into total arrogance, with a never-ending supply of backhanded compliments.
- Spelling Song: One line in "Ramblin' Man.""R-A-M-B-L-I-N. (Beat) Apostrophe."
- Taught by Experience: Martin taught himself how to play banjo by slowing down bluegrass records and learning note-for-note. He's never had a formal lesson.
- What Could Have Been: He auditioned for the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Oddly enough, the producers turned him down.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: When he plays fathers, this is generally part of the character's dilemmas.
- Younger Than They Look: In his younger days. His hair went white very early, but he's hardly aged since, making him a rare example of both this and Older Than They Look.