Martin will be honored Oct. 23 at 8 PM in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The evening, which will be taped for future television broadcast, will feature a star-studded company to be announced at a later date. The Mark Twain Prize, according to press notes, recognizes "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said 'against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.'"
Martin follows previous recipients Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Lorne Michaels.
In a statement Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said, "The Kennedy Center is pleased to give Steve the Mark Twain Prize for an extraordinary career. His creations, be they on stage, on film or in a book, have created a collective memory of humor and joy for all Americans."
Awards recipient Martin countered, "I think Mark Twain is a great guy and I can’t wait to meet him."
Steve Martin wrote and starred in such films as "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story" and "Bowfinger." His plays include Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants, and he also published the novellas "Shopgirl" and "The Pleasure of My Company."
Tickets for the evening will go on sale Aug. 10 by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For more information, visit www.kennedy-center.org.