Steve Martin

34

Steve Martin : biography

August 14, 1945 –

Investigators at Berlin’s state criminal police office (LKA) think that Martin was one victim of a German art forgery scandal. In July 2004, Martin purchased what he believed to be a 1915 work by the German-Dutch painter Heinrich Campendonk, "Landschaft mit Pferden", or "Landscape With Horses", from a Paris gallery for what should have been a bargain price in the neighborhood of €700,000 (around $850,000 at the time). Before the purchase an expert authenticated the work and identified the painter’s signature on a label attached to the back. Fifteen months later Martin put the painting up for sale, and auction house Christie’s disposed of it in February 2006, to a Swiss businesswoman for €500,000 – a loss of €200,000. Police believe the fake Campendonk originated from an invented art collection devised by a group of German swindlers caught in 2010. Skillfully forged paintings from this group were sold to French galleries like the one where Martin bought the forgery.

Written works by Martin

  • The Jerk (1979) (Screenplay written with Carl Gottlieb)
  • Cruel Shoes (1979) (Essays)
  • Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the Zig-Zag Woman, Patter for the Floating Lady, WASP (1993) (Play)
  • L.A. Story and Roxanne: Two Screenplays (published together in 1997) (Screenplays)
  • Pure Drivel (1998) (Stories)
  • Bowfinger (1999) (Screenplay)
  • Eric Fischl : 1970–2000 (2000) (Afterword)
  • Modern Library Humor and Wit Series (2000) (Introduction and Series Editor)
  • Shopgirl (2000) (Novella)
  • Kindly Lent Their Owner: The Private Collection of Steve Martin (2001) (Art)
  • The Underpants: A Play (2002) (Play)
  • The Pleasure of My Company (2003) (Novel)
  • The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z (2007) (Children’s Books illustrated by Roz Chast)
  • Born Standing Up (2007) (Memoir)
  • An Object of Beauty (2010) (Novel)
  • Late For School (2010) (Children’s book)
  • The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.: The Tweets of Steve Martin (February 21, 2012) (Collection)

Early life

Martin was born in Waco, Texas,Walker (1999) p1 on August 14, 1945, the son of Mary Lee (née Stewart) and Glenn Vernon Martin, a real estate salesman and aspiring actor.. Martin was raised in Inglewood, California, and then later in Garden Grove, California, in a Baptist family.Martin (2007) pp.20–39 Martin was a cheerleader of Garden Grove High School. One of his earliest memories is of seeing his father, as an extra, serving drinks onstage at the Call Board Theatre on Melrose Place. During World War II, in England, Martin’s father had appeared in a production of Our Town with Raymond Massey. Years later, he would write to Massey for help in Steve’s fledgling career, but would receive no reply. Expressing his affection through gifts of cars, bikes, etc., Martin’s father was stern, and not emotionally open to his son. He was proud but critical, with Martin later recalling that in his teens his feelings for his father were mostly ones of hatred. Martin’s first job was at Disneyland, selling guidebooks on weekends and full-time during the school’s summer break. That lasted for three years (1955–58). During his free time he frequented the Main Street Magic shop, where tricks were demonstrated to potential customers. By 1960, he had mastered several of the tricks and illusions, and took a paying job at the Magic shop in Fantasyland in August. There he perfected his talents for magic, juggling, and creating balloon animals in the manner of mentor Wally Boag, frequently performing for tips.Martin (2007) p 39 In his authorized biography, close friend Morris Walker suggests that Martin could "be described most accurately as an agnostic […] he rarely went to church and was never involved in organized religion of his own volition".Walker (1999) p40