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Rockland's Own Bill Murray Will Be Honored With Mark Twain Prize

Bill Murray sits with FDR, who he played in "Hyde Park on Hudson" in 2012.
Bill Murray sits with FDR, who he played in "Hyde Park on Hudson" in 2012. Photo Credit: FDR Presidential Library and Museum Flickr

PIERMONT, N.Y. -- Rockland County's own Bill Murray will collect the 19th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at "star-studded show" hosted by the Kennedy Center on Oct. 23.

The show will be aired nationally on PBS stations.

"I'm honored by this award and by its timing," Murray said, when he was told of the coming award. "I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won't disturb his peace."

The longstanding actor is also known for his quirky off-screen behavior, including allegedly mooching some fries from a stranger and casually adding "No one will ever believe you" -- which seems to have been recently reprised -- and crashing a bachelor party and offering advice.

"The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain," the Kennedy Center noted in a news release.

"As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said 'against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.'"

The first Mark Twain Prize was awarded to Richard Pryor 1998. In the years following, the recipients were 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, finally, Eddie Murphy last year.

"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," said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter.

"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."

Tickets to the ceremony are already sold out, but folks are encouraged to check back for last-minute availability.

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