Julia Louis-Dreyfus is among the most celebrated women in comedy, but she will receive her highest honor yet this fall. Louis-Dreyfus will be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Deadline reported on Wednesday. The prize is awarded to people who have had an impact on national culture in a similar way to that of the legendary author of books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Louis-Dreyfus made history in September 2017 with her sixth consecutive Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy for her work as Selina Meyer on HBO's Veep, making her the actor with the most Emmys in a single role. When she receives the Mark Twain Prize, she'll join an impressive list of past recipients that includes Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Bill Murray, and more, since the award's inception in 1998.
“Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand of humor,” said Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, in a statement, according to the The New York Times. “Over four decades, her wildly original characters and her gift for physical comedy have left us in stitches.”
"Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying."
Louis-Dreyfus also took to Twitter to share the news, writing, "Well, this is insanely exciting."
The announcement marks a bright spot in a year marked with highs and lows for Louis-Dreyfus, who has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The actor has been keeping fans updated online, and posted a note on Instagram in January that she completed chemotherapy.
Throughout the difficult process, the comedian has maintained her trademark sense of humor. She posted a photo of herself mean-mugging for the camera on Instagram in October 2017, sporting a pair of sunglasses and a marker-mustache. She captioned the picture,
"Chemo #2: finito. We are NOT f*cking around here. “I’ve got the eye of the tiger. The Fighter dancing through the fire cuz I am a champion and your’re going to hear me ROAR.” Thanks to @mrtonyhale & @timothycsimons & @katyperry for their hilarious and loving inspiration."
When news broke that Louis-Dreyfus would receive the Mark Twain Prize, fans were delighted and took to social media to voice their excitement.
One fan @scullysufo replied to Dreyfus, writing, "YOU ARE A QUEEN AND YOU DESERVE IT. I’M SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU," along with a heart emoji, while another @mrvpstn said, "JULIA LOUIS DREYFUS FINALLY GETTING HER MARK TWAIN PRIZE I SAID THANK YOUUUUUUU."
Meanwhile, @SaharaRayAnne also tweeted, "Congratulations @OfficialJLD Very much deserved [fist emoji] I’ve been watching almost everything you’ve been in, since I was little. You’re an amazing woman, in so many ways! An inspiration for girls everywhere," with a peace sign emoji.
Louis-Dreyfus is will return to the small screen for Veep's seventh and final season in 2019, according to TVLine. Production is expected to begin in August, but is on hold until she fully recovers. However, fans can see the actor onstage before then when she receives the Mark Twain Prize during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 21.