Steve Martin Through the Years

Steve Martin toured as a stand-up comedian in the ’70s before pursuing his Hollywood dreams.

Martin joined The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour as a writer in the late ’60s, winning his first Emmy Award in 1969. Following his breakthrough role in 1977’s The Absent-Minded Waiter, Martin went on to star in All of Me, L.A. Story, Parenthood and the Father of the Bride films.

Writing continued to be an important part of Martin’s career. He released his first book, Cruel Shoes, in 1979, followed by 2000’s Shopgirl, 2007’s Born Standing Up and his illustrated 2022 memoir, Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions.

He went on to write a number of plays including Meteor Shower, Patter for the Floating Lady, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and the Tony Award–nominated musical Bright Star.

“I always thought that writing for my comedy act was writing,” Martin shared with The Believer in 2005. “I remember being in New York and seeing a comic play, and I thought, ‘I should be able to do that. I’ve written screenplays and I’ve performed live.’ So I started fooling around, writing my first play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

Martin also has a fondness for music, teaching himself to play the banjo as a teen along with the help of folk artist John McEuen. Martin incorporated the banjo in his stand-up career and has collaborated with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Steep Canyon Rangers and In the Minds of the Living.

“I like it because my investment in this is not with my ego. It’s more of an emotional investment,” Martin told Banjo News in 2010. “If I was doing a comedy show in a 3,000 seat hall, and a thousand people showed up…But if only a thousand people show up to see me play banjo, that seems about right. So it’s not the same for me.”

A new generation of fans fell in love with Martin’s comedic energy after Only Murders in the Building premiered in 2021. He hinted one year later that he was ready to step back from the spotlight, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “This is, weirdly, it.”

Keep scrolling to see Martin’s life in photos: