Bill Murray to Receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Bill Murray Serious - H 2015
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Bill Murray Serious - H 2015

The honor will be given to the actor-comedian at an Oct. 23 ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

Bill Murray will be honored with the 19th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, it was announced Monday.

The actor-comedian will be awarded the prize at a Kennedy Center gala on Oct. 23, which will feature some of the biggest names in comedy and be taped for broadcast.

“I’m honored by this award and by its timing," Murray said in a statement. "I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won’t disturb his peace.”

Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter added, “Since his first performances on Saturday Night Live more than three decades ago, Bill Murray has charmed us with unforgettable performances from an eclectic cast of characters that have become ingrained in our cultural vernacular. An award-winning writer, actor and comedian, his brilliant wit and infectious spirit continue to inspire our laughter across generations both on and off the screen. His unique brand of humor seems to defy time itself — always remaining relevant and relatable to new audiences — much like our award’s namesake.”

The prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the 19th-century novelist, essayist, social commentator and satirist who was born Samuel Clemens.

Previous recipients of the prize include Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Jay Leno and Eddie Murphy.

Murray was recently seen in the movie Rock the Kasbah and the Netflix holiday special A Very Murray Christmas. He also voiced Baloo in Disney's The Jungle Book, which hit theaters in April, and will next be seen in a cameo appearance in the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot.