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Sunday
Aug142011

Happy 66th Birthday Steve Martin!

Steve Martin in the Main Street Magic Shop during Disneyland's 50th Anniversary © Disneyland

On August 14, 1945, Stephen Glenn Martin was born in Waco, Texas. When Martin was five, the family moved to Inglewood, California. About five years later the family would move again, settling a couple miles away from Walt Disney's new theme park in Anaheim.

A young Steve Martin, demonstrates a few tricks in Merlin's Magic Shop © DisneylandIn 1955, 10 year-old Steve Martin, got his first job selling guide books at Disneyland's main gate. For the next eight years Martin was a Disneyland Cast Member, working after school, on weekends and during summer breaks. The future Disney Legend worked a variety of jobs at the theme park, from selling souvenir spinning lassos in Frontierland to demonstrating magic tricks in Fantasyland, at Merlin's Magic Shop.

All the time spent at Disneyland eventually shaped Martin's career as an actor and comedian. After three years in Merlin's, the young Cast Member became quite adept at magic and sleight of hand. The juggling basics which shaped Martin's world-famous cat-juggling routine, were learned from Christopher Fair, Fantasyland's Court Jester in the 50's & 60's. The Golden Horseshoe's Wally Boag was another of Steve Martin's early influences. In his free time, the teenager studied and scrutinized, learning from Boag's live performances. Martin credits Boag's comedic timing as being a big influence on his own acting career.

 Before making it big, Steve Martin worked as a writer for several comedy shows, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.  Known as a wild and crazy guy, Martin also gained notoriety as stand-up comedian, appearing on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live. Martin's career as an actor finally took off after he co-wrote and starred in his first full-length movie, The Jerk (1979). The box-office hit showcased the talented performer and made Steve Martin a star. Returning to his roots, Martin has appeared in several Disney films, including Father of the Bride (1991), Fantasia 2000 (2000) and Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years (2005). In 2005, Steve Martin was honored as a Disney Legend.

Here's a classic clip from The Jerk, with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters singing Tonight You Belong to Me.

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