I watched Steve Martin and his band perform a Bluegrass music concert on DVD and it was outstanding. Besides their fantastic music, Martin also injected humor throughout the performance which really made it a lot of fun to watch.
He was a bit quirky and funny growing up as we’d expect but a lot of people don’t know that he was also a high school cheerleader much to various coaches dismay because he was a good sized kid being six feet tall and medium build. Martin was extremely intelligent and started off pursuing a doctorate in philosophy at U.C.L.A.so he could become a professor. In one of his comedy routines he said the following: "If you're studying geology it’s all about facts so as soon as you get out of school you forget it all, but with philosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life." Now, that’s funny!
During his time in college he also worked at Disney Land and was fascinated by the different shows there especially magic/illusions. He learned some tricks of the trade and began performing in various places for free and got hooked on performing. To keep his audiences’ attention he also performed comedy while doing his tricks and he began getting more excitement from the crowd out of what he was saying than the actual magic tricks he was doing so it got him thinking about becoming a comedian.
While writing his comedic material he realized he had a great knack for doing it. Then one day he ran into an ex-girlfriend who was working on The Smothers Brothers’ Show and she said she’d take some of his comedy material to the senior writer of the show and he loved it. The show didn’t have any more money in their budget at the time but he liked Steve’s material so much that he paid his salary until the show could pick it up. In 1969, Martin received an Emmy Award for his writing on the show and he was only 23 years old.
Steve was a tall handsome guy who was also charming and funny and one day a scout for The Dating Game Show talked him into being one of their contestants. He won the date and he was so funny that they asked him to be a contestant again. He said yes, and once again had the crowd roaring with laughter and he won the date.
Martin opened up doing stand-up comedy for a few musical groups including: The Carpenters, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Toto. He also became a hot commodity on all the late night talk shows.
His performances became famous on Saturday Night Live (We are two wild and crazy guys!), and every time he hosted SNL the ratings jumped substantially. Coincidentally one of his best friends, Gilda Radner, died on a Saturday in 1989 and he hosted SNL that night. In tribute, they showed a sketch he and Gilda had done for the show years earlier. During this time period, Steve dated Bernadette Peters although they never got married.
Because of his popularity Steve decided to release a comedy album called: Let’s Get Small and it went platinum (sold over 500,000 copies), not common in the comedy business. Then his second album: A Wild and Crazy Guy also went platinum. At the end of this album was a song he wrote called: King Tut which was released as a single and reached 17th on Billboard’s Top 100. Steve got the idea for the song when he heard the King Tut Museum was going on tour in the U.S.
Martin decided to stop performing comedy and instead try his luck at acting. His first major film appearance was in the Beatle’s Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie where he acted and sang. In 1979, Martin co-wrote and starred in The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner. The movie was a giant success, grossing over $100 million on a budget of approximately $4 million.
Becoming an actor was a good move on his part as he’s participated in 54 movies including: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Father of the Bride, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther, etc. At the same time he was performing in movies he also became a successful playwright writing the play: Picasso at the Lapin Agile which ran for several years across the U.S.
He always loved music and learned to play the banjo when he was 17. His favorite music wasn’t mainstream, especially in Hollywood, as he preferred Bluegrass. While visiting North Carolina in 2008 his wife Anne Stringfield, who worked for the New Yorker Magazine, went on a fly fishing outing with some of her family (Steve didn’t go), and they really liked their fishing guide. They learned he was with a Bluegrass band called The Steep Canyon Rangers and he invited them to come hear their show that weekend.
Victoria talked Steve into going although he wasn’t enthusiastic about it because they were just a local band. Once he heard them he was amazed at how great they were and they made a deal for Steve to join them. His fame helped the band reach a national audience. Steve’s song-writing, banjo playing, and ability to entertain, helped fill up venues. Martin and the band released their first Bluegrass album in 2009 followed by four others through 2015 and each of them reached number one on the Bluegrass charts.
Martin has won five Grammy Awards during his career. Over all he’s been nominated and/or won 44 awards for acting, comedy, movies, music, television, writing, etc. I probably couldn’t find anyone who doesn’t know his name but I bet very few who know how truly accomplished Steve Martin is.
By the way, at the age of 69 Steve Martin finally became a father as his daughter was born in 2012. They are raising her outside of the spotlight and I don’t think her real name has ever been reported.