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Steve Martin went from performing in an empty San Francisco coffee house to hosting the Oscars. In between, he spent 18 years as a stand-up comic — four of them, by his account, successful years.
In his memoir Born Standing Up, Martin chronicles those stand-up years, the childhood (including a brief career at Disneyland) that came before them, and the perils and pleasures of celebrity.
He was the star of such films as The Jerk, All of Me, Roxanne, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Parenthood, LA Story, Father of the Bride, The Spanish Prisoner, Bowfinger and Bringing Down the House.
Martin has also established himself as a novelist. Shopgirl, the novel he published in 2000, was a best-seller.
He talks about why, at the height of his stand-up fame, he put that life behind him to take up acting and writing. He calls the book not an autobiography, but a biography of a guy he used to know.