Steve Martin’s 10 Best Characters

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Steve Martin started his comedic acting career in the 1970s and built a massive library of comedies. While he quit acting around 2009, Martin returned in 2021 for a new streaming series on Hulu he helped write titled Only Murders in the Building. The series reminded older fans of how funny and good of an actor Martin is.

RELATED: Only Murders In The Building: The Main Characters, Ranked By Intelligence

Over his career, Martin has starred in biting satires, slapstick comedies, family movies, and even some quality dramas. A chameleon in front of the camera, he has created some of the most iconic characters in comedy movie history. From madcap detectives and frustrated fathers to clueless losers, Martin has some memorable characters that will live on forever.


Charles-Haden Savage: Only Murders In The Building (2021)

Steve Martin and Martin Short standing on the street in Only Murders In The Building.

Steve Martin came out of retirement in 2021 for a streaming series that he helped write titled Only Murders in the Building. The show stars Martin and Martin Short as an actor and director who are obsessed with true crime podcasts and decide to try and solve a murder in their apartment building.

Martin’s Charles-Haden Savage is an actor who hasn’t had success in years and has shut himself off from the world after his wife left him. Martin is one of the best characters in Only Murders in the Building, and he imbues Charles with sadness, showing a man dealing with anxiety issues who finds his joy in trying to solve a murder, of all things.

Gil Buckman: Parenthood (1989)

Steve Martin dressed as a sheriff in Parenthood.

In 1989, Steve Martin took a role in a family comedy with Ron Howard’s Parenthood. In the movie, Martin stars as Gil Buckman, a father of three kids with one more on the way. The movie follows Gil’s attempts to juggle his work life with his family.

The cast of Parenthood is full of great talent, with Mary Steenburgen, Keanu Reeves, and Jason Robards, but Martin made Gil stand out as a man who never has time for himself and fears he is failing as a dad. It is a great Martin performance as a man with anxiety issues just trying to be a better man.

C.D. Bales: Roxanne (1987)

Steve Martin with a bird on his nose in Roxanne.

Roxanne was the 1987 remake of Cyrano De Bergerac, where Steve Martin played a long-nosed fireman named C.D. Bales. In the movie, C.D. tries to help his coworker woo their love interest, Rosanne, but he ends up falling in love with the woman himself.

Martin gives Bales a loveable quality, and it is impossible to watch Roxanne and not want to see him succeed and find happiness in his life. Martin seamlessly moves between sweet and serious in the role and it shows his well-rounded skills as an actor.

Tom Baker: Cheaper By The Dozen (2003)

Steve Martin with his Cheaper By the Dozen family posing for a photo.

Steve Martin appeared in a pair of Cheaper By the Dozen movies as Tom Baker, the father of 12 kids, and the movie itself was a remake of a 1950 movie of the same name. There are a lot of characters in the movie, with 12 kids and the parents, but Martin stands out as Tom.

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