Steve Martin's dad became his harshest critic after failed attempt at Hollywood

Ashley Bautista August 14, 2022
Steve Martin's dad became his harshest critic after failed attempt at Hollywood


Despite his fame Steve Martin had to deal with his harshest critic – his own dad. As the actor turns 77 today, The Focus dives into his journey to become a Hollywood icon and the star’s relationship with his father.

Actor, comedian, writer, musician and producer, the five-time Grammy winner’s first experience with Hollywood came after he accepted a contract to write for hit television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1969.

Martin not only established himself as a popular stand-up comedian, the exposure also turned him into one of the greatest comedic Hollywood actors of all time. However, his father Glenn Vernon Martin thought otherwise.

The patriarch of the family, who had a failed attempt at a Hollywood career himself, didn’t have the best reaction to his son’s work.

Breakout in Hollywood

Steve had already produced popular projects when was invited to host an episode of Saturday Night Live on October 24, 1976. The show regularly features the biggest artists and actors starring alongside comedians.

Within a few years his contact book had expanded after writing for The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour and other top shows. By then, Steve Martin had become one of the top comics in the US, with sold-out shows in the country’s biggest venues.

He not only made everyone laugh with his outstanding comedy performances, he also revealed he’s quite the musician too. As well as being an excellent banjo player, Martin’s songs Let’s Get Small and A Wild Crazy Guy received two Grammys. His 1979 song, King Tut, sold more than a million copies.

His successful career is reflected in the fact Steve has won 21 major awards, including five Grammys, one Emmy, and an Honorary Academy Award at the 2013 Oscars.

Steve can be currently seen on Only Murders In The Building, for which he’s also co-writer while also starring alongside pop star Selena Gomez.

Steve Martin’s dad reacted harshly to SNL

Despite his great popularity, his late-father Glenn didn’t have kind words to describe his son reaching such fame. Steve Martin opened up about their strained relationship on The Howard Stern Show and revealed his dad wrote a negative review about him in a company newsletter.

Glenn wrote the show had done “nothing to further his [son’s] career,” and added: “I think Saturday Night Live is the most horrible thing on television.”

Glenn had more to say about his son’s success after Steve’s breakthrough film The Jerk. After a friend asked his opinion on his son’s work, Glenn replied: “Well, he’s no Charlie Chaplin.”

Complicated relationship

Photo by Darlene Hammond/Getty Images

Describing a “very happy childhood,” the actor nevertheless said his relationship with Glenn was “complicated.”

Although his father was harsh, Martin doesn’t believe it was out of jealousy but simply because his father had “ambitions, and children came into his life and those ambitions stopped.” Glenn had started a Hollywood career of his own, appearing in a number of projects, but his fame failed to reach the same level as his son.

Defending his father, Steve said he came to understand his “complicated life.” He told Howard Stern: “By the way, later in life we reconciled, he became a fan. He would answer fan mail for me and was an enthusiast.”

Glenn Vernon passed away in 1997 at the age of 83, two decades after his son’s success began.

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Ashley is a journalism graduate from Kingston University, currently writing for HITC, Reality Titbit and The Focus. She loves to travel and learn new languages and cultures. She also has an interest in celebrity news and the entertainment world. When she’s not writing, she’s on social media, watching K-dramas or shopping.