Irish American actor Bill Murray will be this year’s recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced last week.

The award, which was first handed out in 1998, recognizes individuals 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, reports the EagleTribune.

Past winner’s of the prize include Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, and last year’s recipient, Eddie Murphy. 

Bill Murray, 65, first gained prominence for his work on “Saturday Night Live,” which he joined in 1977. In 1979, he starred in “Meatballs,” and the following year scored a major hit with the golf comedy “Caddyshack.”

He went on to become one of Hollywood’s most bankable comedians, starring in “Ghostbusters”, “Groundhog Day,” and “Scrooged.”

He began taking more dramatic roles in the 1990s, earning acclaim in Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore” in 1998, and in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” in 2003, which earned him a Golden Globe award.

"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," Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said. "His unique brand of humor seems to defy time itself — always remaining relevant and relatable to new audiences — much like our award's namesake."

Murray will be awarded the prize at a Kennedy Center gala on Oct. 23.

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

Bill MurrayGage Skidmore/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0