After four decades of delivering some of the most unforgettable and best-loved comedic performances, Bill Murray is receiving the Kennedy Center’s 19th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Murray, reaching an almost cult-like status in the world of comedy, has had a career heralded by critics and fans alike for his work in classics like Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack and Saturday Night Live.
The honor is given to individuals who have made a significant impact on American society through comedy. Past winners include last year’s winner, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Tina Fey, Bob Newhart, and Ellen Degeneres.
“I’m honored by this award and by its timing,” Murray said. “I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won’t disturb his peace.”
Murray will be award the prize at a star-studded ceremony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on October 23. Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter explained why they chose Murray as this year’s recipient. “His brilliant wit and infectious spirit continue to inspire our laughter across generations both on and off the screen. His unique mbrand of humor seems to defy time itself – always remaining relevant and relatable to new audiences – much like our award’s namesake.”