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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Actor Martin gets comedy honour
Steve Martin at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts' annual award ceremony
Martin made his name in stand-up comedy
Actor Steve Martin has been awarded one of America's top comedy prizes, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour.

Dozens of clips from the 60-year-old's film and TV appearances were applauded at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts' annual award ceremony.

Colleagues who came to the Washington event, included Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin, Diane Keaton and Claire Danes.

Musician Paul Simon also paid tribute, and Randy Newman sang I Love to See You Smile, from Martin's film Parenthood.

Short called Martin "an original genius" who had "blazed his own trail".

Tomlin said: "His artistry soars to heights of sublime silliness and divine absurdity."

Tom Hanks and Steve Martin at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts' annual award ceremony
As did Charlie Chaplin, as did the Marx Brothers, as did Laurel and Hardy define their own times, Steve Martin defined ours
Tom Hanks

Eric Idle called Martin "the most intelligent man I have ever met".

"Honesty, simplicity and truth are the secret to his comedy," the Monty Python veteran added.

But for Hanks, Martin's success was based on "self-loathing and unhappiness".

"He redefined comedy by defining the moment of our ascendancy as a generation," he added.

"As did Charlie Chaplin, as did the Marx Brothers, as did Laurel and Hardy define their own times, Steve Martin defined ours."

Accepting the prize, Martin mentioned other awards he had won, including a 1969 writing Emmy for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, adding: "But of course the Mark Twain Prize is more special to me - because it is more recent!"

Asked if he had any regrets, he said: "It is a life of cherishing a few things and regretting a lot of things - but that is the life of a performer."

Previous recipients of the award include Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor and Carl Reiner.

Best known for his roles in films such as The Jerk, Parenthood, Father of the Bride and more recently Cheaper by the Dozen, the two-time Oscar host is also well-known for his writing skills.

Martin's film scripts include Roxanne, LA Story and The Man With Two Brains, while the actor has also produced two best-selling novels, Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company.

He will shortly be seen in Pink Panther prequel, in the Inspector Clouseau role made famous by Peter Sellers.




SEE ALSO:
Oscars hosts through history
27 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Steve Martin wins career honour
14 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Steve Martin film tops box office
17 Feb 04 |  Entertainment
Steve Martin in Pink Panther role
18 Nov 03 |  Entertainment


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