Louis-Dreyfus will receive the award at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 21 in a ceremony that will be broadcast nationally.
“Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand of humor,” Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said. “Over four decades, her wildly original characters and her gift for physical comedy have left us in stitches.”
She is the latest in a long line of distinguished comedians to receive the award, including comedy luminaries such as Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, George Carlin, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Pryor, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Bill Murray, and David Letterman.
“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 said.
This awards joins the actress’ already crowded collection of awards, including 11 Emmys. She won six of those Emmys consecutively for her time on “Veep,” breaking the record for the most Emmys won for playing the same role. She also won Emmys for her starring roles in “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Seinfeld.”