The prize recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.
“Adam Sandler has entertained audiences for over three decades with his films, music, and his tenure as a fan favorite cast member on ‘SNL,’” Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said. “Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing. I am looking forward to a laughter-filled evening like no other as we celebrate his career at a ceremony that is sure to bring together the best in comedy.”
As a recipient of the prize, Sandler will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt. Previous recipients include Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart.
Sandler’s films have grossed over $3 billion worldwide and include box offices hits such as “Grown Ups,” “Big Daddy,” “The Longest Yard” and “The Waterboy.”
Sandler’s Netflix film “Hustle” has received numerous accolades, and he was awarded a Gotham Award for his work as Stanley Sugerman. His role as Howard Ratner in the Safdie Bros’ critically acclaimed film “Uncut Gems” garnered Sandler several nominations and awards, including winning the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Award.