The comedian-actor-writer-musician Steve Martin, who has starred in such timeless comedies as "The Jerk," "All of Me," "Little Shop of Horrors," and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," will be honored with a lifetime achievement Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, at the 5th annual Governors Awards, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Happy FeetBorn in Waco, Texas, and raised in California, Steve Martin started as a writer for television, winning an Emmy Award for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." He was also nominated for "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" and "Van Dyke and Company."
Martin's standup act - sly and silly routines, laced with slapstick, that were self-mocking, ironic and absurd - was a break with the tradition of telling jokes. He created a character who seemed a bit out-of-control.
"I was studying philosophy in college, and philosophy taught me, 'Question everything,'" he told correspondent Rita Braver in 2007. "And so I just turned it on my act. And I thought that, 'Well, the audience, they're sitting there waiting for these punchlines. And then a punchline comes and they go, Ha, ha, ha, nut, it's not really real.' They're kind of being told when to laugh. And I thought, 'What if I never indicated to them where to laugh?' Then they would sit there for a while. And pretty soon they would -- I hoped -- find their own place to laugh. And then they would be laughing for real."
Left: Martin gets "happy feet" on "The Tonight Show.
A Wild and Crazy GuySome of his most popular routines involved things he'd picked up working as a youngster at the Disneyland Magic Shop, like the arrow through the head, the bunny ears and even his balloon animals.
"I was looking for absurd things for my act and I went back to those early props," Martin said. "And I thought they're so stupid that I wanted to use them in some ironic way."
Martin's act was all about irony; for example, his "Wild and Crazy Guy." As his popularity started to build, he noticed that people were coming to his shows wearing arrows through their heads or with balloon animals.
"And I thought, 'That's odd,'" Martin said.
SNLIn 1976 he was invited to host a new show called "Saturday Night Live." "It was just such an exciting period where you're just charged up to be funny and the audience was so ready for you to be funny," Martin said. "It was a fabulous time."
Among Martin's memorable characters from his many guest appearances on "SNL" was his portrayal, with Dan Aykroyd, of "two wild and crazy guys" (left, in 1978).
"The Muppet Show"Steve Martin brought his banjo-playing talents to "The Muppet Show," and was later one of the numerous stars making cameo appearances in 1979's "The Muppet Movie."
King TutMartin was playing to huge crowds. He even had a hit song, "King Tut" (left).
"Well, it felt very satisfying. I knew this was a rare thing to happen to anybody, to sort of burst on a comedy scene. I was also worried about the future," he told Braver. "I knew I had become this thing and I knew that it's eventually something I have to break out of."
"The Jerk"Steve Martin's first starring film role was in the Carl Reiner comedy, "The Jerk" (1979), a rags-to-riches-to-rags story about a man born "a poor black child." His first great claim to fame: Having his name published in the phone book.
"Pennies From Heaven"Steve Martin starred in the big-screen version of Dennis Potter's "Pennies From Heaven," in which a Depression-Era music salesman's dreams transport him to a world inspired by Hollywood musicals.
"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"In "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1982), a pastiche intercutting Martin with clips from old Hollywood film noirs, Martin took on several guises, including Barbara Stanwyck.
"The Man with Two Brains"Steve Martin takes his passions a little too far in "The Man with Two Brains" (1983).
"All of Me"Steve Martin won the New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics' awards for Best Actor for his slapstick performance in "All of Me" (1984), in which his body is invaded by the spirit of Lily Tomlin (who can only be glimpsed in mirrors).
"The Lonely Guy"My, he is lonely. Steve Martin starred in "The Lonely Guy" (1984), an adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman's "The Lonely Guy's Book of Life."
"Little Shop of Horrors"Martin made a huge impact as the sadistic dentist in the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986).
"Three Amigos"Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short starred in "Three Amigos" (1986), in which a trio of silent-era movie actors is mistaken for big-screen heroes by Mexican villagers desperate for protection from bandits.
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles""Those aren't pillows!" Martin gets uncomfortably close to John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987).
"Roxanne"Steve Martin won the Writers Guild of America's award for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Roxanne" (1987), an updated telling of "Cyrano de Bergerac," with Martin in the role of the romantic with a prominent honker. Daryl Hannah played the object of his affection.
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"Michael Caine and Steve Martin play con men on the French Riviera in the comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1988), from "Little Shop of Horrors" director Frank Oz.
"Parenthood"Steve Martin played a neurotic executive unable to cope with the pressures of "Parenthood," in the 1989 comedy directed by Ron Howard.
"My Blue Heaven"Steve Martin is definitely a fish out of water, as a former mobster in the witness protection program, hiding out in plain sight in the 'burbs, in "My Blue Heaven" (1990).
In a weird bit of synchronicity, "My Blue Heaven" was written by Nora Ephron, who was married to Nicholas Pileggi, author of the book on which Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" was based. That film, of a mobster who flees into the witness protection program, was also released by Warner Brothers that same year.
"L.A. Story"Steve Martin wrote and starred in "L.A. Story" (1991), an ensemble romantic comedy in which Martin's TV weatherman takes an unusual mode of transport through the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
"Father of the Bride"Diane Keaton and Steve Martin were parents experiencing the pain and agony of wedding planners and other nuptial horror tales, in the 1991 comedy "Father of the Bride."
"Grand Canyon"Steve Martin (here, with Kevin Kline) played the producer of violent Hollywood films who undergoes a conversion owing to life-changing events, in Lawrence Kasdan's 1991 ensemble drama, "Grand Canyon."
"The Spanish Prisoner"In a departure for Martin, in 1997 he played a wealthy businessman who may not be what he seems, in David Mamet's thriller, "The Spanish Prisoner."
"The Out-of-Towners"After co-starring in the comedy "Housesitter," Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin teamed up in the 1999 remake of the Neil Simon comedy, "The Out-of-Towners," as tourists way out of their depth in New York City.
"Bowfinger"Steve Martin played a lowest-of-the-low-budget film producer who tries to film scenes with action star Eddie Murphy (whom he can't possibly afford) on the sly in the comedy "Bowfinger" (1999).
"Novocaine"In the very black comedy "Novocaine" (2001), Steve Martin played a dentist whose forged prescription for painkillers to a very unstable woman leads from root canals to murder. Laura Dern co-starred.
"Looney Tunes: Back in Action"Martin played a villain intent on defeating cartoon characters in "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003).
"The Late Show"Actor Steve Martin feigns sleep after asking "Late Show" host David Letterman to tell him about his new baby during a taping in New York on Monday, Dec. 22, 2003.
"Shopgirl"Martin romances Claire Danes in "Shopgirl" (2005), based on his novella.
"Shopgirl"Actor, writer and producer Steve Martin and actress Claire Danes pose for photographers at a special screening of "Shopgirl," in New York, Oct. 17, 2005. The film is based on Martin's bestselling novella.
Mark Twain PrizeActor Steve Martin tapes his placeholder to his chest and accepts a congratulatory round of applause from his box at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, prior to being honored with the Kennedy Center's eight annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, October 23, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
Previous recipients of the award included Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, and Lorne Michaels.
"The Pink Panther"In the 2006 remake of "The Pink Panther," Steve Martin stepped into the role of Inspector Clouseau. Looking on are Beyonce Knowles, and Kevin Kline as Chief Inspector Dreyfus.
"The Pink Panther 2"Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau, getting into enough trouble for more than one movie, in "The Pink Panther 2."
Kennedy Center HonorsFunnyman Steve Martin looks somber for the cameras at the 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Dec. 2, 2007. The actor-writer was heralded as a "renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines."
"Baby Mama"Steve Martin co-starred in the 2008 comedy "Baby Mama," in which Tina Fey hires a surrogate to have her baby.
In ConcertSteve Martin performs during a concert in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009.
"It's Complicated"Martin played one of Meryl Streep's romantic interests in "It's Complicated" (2009).
Academy AwardsHosts Alec Baldwin, right, and Steve Martin are seen on stage at the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday, March 7, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Steve Martin performs with the Steep Canyon Rangers during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Friday, June 11, 2010, in Manchester, Tenn.
Library Lions BenefitActor Steve Martin attends the 2010 Library Lions Benefit at The New York Public Library on Nov. 1, 2010, in New York.
Sting, James Taylor and Steve Martin perform at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall, April 12, 2011 in New York City.
Tina Fey And Steve Martin appear "In Conversation" to benefit KPCC and KCET, at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, April 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Steve Martin performs with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers, at The Largo at The Coronet, May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
International Bluegrass Awards
Steve Martin after he and the Steep Canyon Rangers won for Entertainer of the Year at the 2011 International Bluegrass Awards, at the Ryman Auditorium, September 29, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Stagecoach Country Music Festival
Musician-actor Steve Martin performs onstage during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Field on April 28, 2012 in Indio, California.
"The Big Year"Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black played amateur birders competing to spot the most bird species in the 2011 comedy, "The Big Year."
Costume Designers Guild Awards
Presenters Maya Rudolph, Steve Martin and Amy Poehler attend the 15th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, February 19, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.
Martin & Short
Martin Short performs with Steve Martin at the 2013 Toys 'R' Us Children's Fund Gala on Thursday, May 16, in New York City.
"Dueling Banjos"Steve Martin goes head to head with Kermit the Frog in a rendition of "Dueling Banjos," in a 2013 video produced by the humor website Funny or Die.
Governors AwardsAngelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Piero Tosi to receive Academy honorsThe Governors Awards for lifetime achievement, to Steve Martin, actress Angela Lansbury, and costume designer Piero Tosi, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to Angelina Jolie, will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
For more info:
Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Piero Tosi to receive Academy honors
Governors Awards (AMPAS)
"Steve Martin: The Television Stuff" (Shout Factory DVD)
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan