In the late 1970s there was no bigger comedian than Steve Martin. His unique brand of stand-up comedy, which was almost a parody of the art form itself, garnered Martin a massive following, leading to numerous appearances on "Saturday Night Live," and ultimately catapulting him to the heights of stardom. He's well-regarded in the comedy world as one of the scholars of the genre, having been the inspiration for so many young comedians over the years.
However, it's not just broad comedy that Martin can do, though he's certainly capable of getting big belly laughs from a fall or simpler joke. Steve has also played some more eclectic and even darker roles in his career; roles that may be less known outside of his throng of adoring fans.Today Martin turns 67 years old, and we thought we'd highlight some of those roles in honor of his big day.
Ray Porter in "Shopgirl" (2005) - This dark comedy centers around a love triangle between a wealthy man played by Martin, a woman who works at a counter in a department store played by Claire Danes and a restless young artist played by Jason Schwartzman. What makes this role so different for Martin is that he's not playing the court jester or stooge or a zany character. He's playing a flawed middle-aged man with an apathetic streak.
Frank Sangster in "Novocaine" (2001) - Mega-fans of Steve know of course that he played a comically evil dentist in "Little Shop of Horrors," but the dentist he plays in this film winds up making a series of bad decisions that wind up leading to him being a central suspect in a murder case. The film is equal parts dark comedy and murder mystery, and Martin shows he's capable of taking a character through an arc that covers the full spectrum of morality.
Arthur in "Pennies From Heaven" (1981) - It was Martin's first dramatic role, and it also happened to be a musical. Though he got fairly decent reviews as the Depression-era sheet music salesman who falls in love with a woman played by Bernadette Peters, the film wasn't all that successful at the box office. Fans of Martin should make sure they catch this flick since it features some wonderful song and dance numbers, and he clearly dedicated to taking the role seriously, bringing his trademark charm to the big show-stopping numbers.
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