Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Sunday, August 19, 2007
 

London Times expands on his father's role in his standup


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article2284303.ece
From The Sunday Times
August 19, 2007
Violent father made me funny, says Steve Martin
John Harlow

THE self-proclaimed “wild and crazy guy” Steve Martin is to reveal the moment when he believes that his comic gift was born - at the hands of his violent father.

In his forthcoming autobiography, Martin says his childhood could not have been more different from the affectionate tussles and loving banter featured in his hit family films, such as Cheaper by the Dozen and Parenthood.

Encouraged to open up about his harrowing youth by his new wife, the writer Anne Stringfield, Martin, 62, has identified an incident in his childhood that he thinks not only led to fame and fortune but may also have contributed to bouts of depression.

He was nine and at home in Waco, Texas, when his father Glenn, an estate agent, exploded in anger. “He muttered something to me; I responded with a mumbled ‘What?’,” recounts Martin in Born Standing Up, to be published in November.

“He shouted, ‘You heard me’, thundered up from his chair, pulled his belt out from its loops and inflicted a beating that never seemed to end. The next day I was covered in welts . . . I swore with icy determination that only the most formal relationship would exist between my father and me, and for perhaps 30 years neither he nor I did anything to repair the rift.”

When he could no longer physically take him on, Glenn Martin, a frustrated amateur actor who had performed in Britain with US forces during the war, continued to snipe at him.

Even when the rising star won his first Emmy television award at the age of 23, writing jokes for a veteran TV act called The Smothers Brothers, his father advised him to go back to college in Los Angeles.

After Martin first appeared on the television programme Saturday Night Live to acclaim in 1976, his father wrote a scathing review of his son’s performance in an estate agent’s newsletter.

When they went out to dinner after the premiere of Martin’s first Hollywood movie, The Jerk, in 1979, a mutual friend asked what he thought of his son’s performance. He replied: “Well, he’s no Charlie Chaplin.”

The vitriol slowed only after Glenn Martin suffered several heart attacks and strokes during the 1980s. In 1997, as he was dying, the two men reached a rapprochement. Martin recalls how his father may have revealed the roots of his lifelong anger when he told him: “You did everything I wanted to do.”

“I said, ‘I did it because of you’, and it was the truth, although looking back I am sure that we both had different interpretations of what I meant.”

Martin believes that his depression is “situational” rather than clinical and describes “bad times” that followed the end of his first marriage to Victoria Tennant, the British actress: “I did not take any prescription drugs, just alcohol, and I found my way out from my blue period through writing.” He wrote Shopgirl, a study of a clinically depressed shop assistant filmed with Claire Danes. “And now I am in my rosy period,” he said.

2 Comments:

Hey sookey!

Check imdb.com for Steve info on an interview done after his wedding. I can't find the interview, but maybe you can.

umm...

By Anonymous umm..., at 10:36 PM  

i looked on imdb, and didn't find the reference. where did you see this?

By Blogger sookeyjane, at 1:04 AM  

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