Martin, Steve, 1945–, American comedian, actor, and writer, b. Waco, Tex. An Emmy-winning television comedy writer in the late 1960s, he began performing stand-up comedy in the early 70s and became a recurrent host on Saturday Night Live beginning in the late 70s. His catchphrases, e.g., "I'm a wild and crazy guy," became instant clichés, and his characters, e.g., a hopelessly gauche Eastern European swinger, instant classics. He also recorded several comedy albums, two of them Grammy winners, and starred in TV specials. Turning to films, Martin starred in and wrote The Jerk (1979), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), and Bowfinger (1999). He also starred in the comedies All of Me (1984), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and Roxanne (1987) as well as in the despairing Pennies from Heaven (1981), the drama Grand Canyon (1991), David Mamet's dark The Spanish Prisoner (1998), and the thriller Novocaine (2001). Martin has written humorous pieces, plays, novellas (including Shopgirl, 2000; he also wrote and starred in the 2005 film), and a novel, An Object of Beauty (2010). An accomplished banjo player as well, he has won two Grammys for his bluegrass recordings.
See his memoir, Born Standing Up (2007).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.