Washington, D.C. — “The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize” salutes Steve Martin, one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today and the 2005 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The program airs Wednesday, November 9, 2005, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.) Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 23, the two-hour special will feature tributes and comic performances from an all-star cast of Martin’s friends and colleagues including Dave Barry, Claire Danes, Larry David, Tom Hanks, Eric Idle, Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Randy Newman, Mike Nichols, Martin Short and Paul Simon. Former Mark Twain Prize recipients Carl Reiner, Lily Tomlin and Lorne Michaels will all be in attendance. The program will also include classic film and television clips from Martin’s career. Upon learning that he had won the Mark Twain Prize, Martin remarked, "I think Mark Twain is a great guy, and I can't wait to meet him."

Martin, a Renaissance humorist, is an actor, comedian, author, and playwright who has won numerous awards for his performances and his writing. His many films that he both wrote and starred in include "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story," and "Bowfinger." Other films he has appeared in include the blockbusters "Father of the Bride," "Parenthood," "Cheaper by the Dozen," and "Bringing Down the House." He has had two plays produced Off Broadway: "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and "The Underpants," an adaptation of a 1911 play by Carl Sternheim. He has published two novellas, "Shopgirl" and "The Pleasure of My Company," as well as a collection of comic pieces entitled "Pure Drivel." His work frequently appears in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Steve Martin is the eighth recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Past recipients of the prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003) and Lorne Michaels (2004).

"The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize" is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mark Krantz Productions; and Comedia. Executive producers are Robert Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr. WETA executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.

Major funding for "The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize" is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service. Corporate funding is provided by T. Rowe Price. Additional funding is provided by United Technologies and the Mark Twain House.

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize was created in 1998 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky and Bob Kaminsky to recognize the art of humorists and to honor one of the world's greatest exponents of humor, Mark Twain. Martin will be presented a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain, sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and its images are courtesy of the Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA's other productions and co-productions include "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," "Washington Week," "In Performance at the White House," and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including "The Civil War" and "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson." Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available on the Web site at weta.org.

"Mark Twain Prize" TM/© Chase Manhattan Bank and Richard A. Watson as trustees of The Mark Twain Foundation Trust under license authorized by CMG Worldwide Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46256 USA.


Additional Documents

  • Mark Twain Prize 2005 - Press Release.doc