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Issue: Spring 2014

Conversations with Steve Martin (Sep 2014) book review

A Retrospective of Interviews

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Conversations with Steve Martin is a collection of interviews dating back to the 1970s.

This book is apparently one of a series of retrospectives using interviews to chart the career and public perception of the interviewee.

Martin began his show business career, effectively, at the age of 11 working at Disneyland. He graduated to demonstrating magic tricks, which was reflected in his subsequent very successful stand-up career during which he also made balloon animals, did magic tricks and played the banjo.

The interviews reflect his changing interests. They discuss his years writing for the Smothers Brothers television show (he won an Emmy), his wildly successful stand-up career (500,000 people in 90 days) which he largely turned his back on after more than a decade to make movies.

book cover, Conversations with Steve Martin; 220x344

Conversations with Steve Martin by Robert E. Kapsis (ed.) (Sep 2014), pb, 320p, University Press of Mississippi, $

He talks about acting and writing movies, a little about Victoria Tennant or Bernadette Peters, and less about his famed modern art collection. There's mention of his banjo playing and bluegrass performances and recordings.

Like many comedians, he is not hilarious when he is not 'on'. This is not a collection of jokes, but a thoughtful insight into a very talented man who has had a wide career that has seen him go from being an icon to a teetering movie career, to author, screenwriter and art critic, with some critical acclaim along the way. Fascinating.

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Ali Kayn
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See also: Buy from Amazon.com