Sandler, 56, first came to national attention as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

After being fired from the cast after a five-year stint, Sandler launched a wildly successful film career that spanned more than 30 films, grossing more than US$3 billion worldwide.

“Adam Sandler has been entertaining audiences for more than three decades with his movies, his music and his tenure as a fan-favorite cast member on SNL,” he said.
Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said in a statement when Sandler’s award was announced in December.

Adam Sandler Humor Award
Adam Sandler first rose to fame as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

“Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry and cry with laughter.”

Sandler’s major hits include Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan.

Although best known for his slapstick comedies and overgrown male and childish characters, Sandler has also excelled in multiple dramatic roles, including in the films Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems.

Mark Twain winners are honored with an evening of video testimonials and tributes, often featuring previous award winners.

Other comedians who received the lifetime achievement award include: Richard Pryor (the inaugural winner in 1998), Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett and Dave Chapelle.

Bill Cosby, the 2009 winner, had his Mark Twain Prize rescinded in 2019 amid multiple sexual assault allegations.

Long-running comedy institution SNL has provided more than its fair share of Mark Twain’s 24 recipients; Sandler is the seventh cast member to receive the award, joining Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy and Julia Louise-Dreyfus.

The show’s creator and producer, Lorne Michaels, won in 2004.

Among those scheduled to honor Sandler on Sunday night, according to the Kennedy Center Honors, are: Jennifer Aniston, Judd Apatow, Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Dana Carvey, Luis Guzman, Tim Herlihy, Tim Meadows, Idina Menzel, Conan O’ Brien, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Ben Stiller.

The ceremony will be broadcast nationally on CNN on March 26.


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