Will Ferrell gets top U.S. award for humor

NEW YORK Thu May 12, 2011 12:42pm EDT

Actor Will Ferrell reacts on the red carpet when he arrives for the UK Premiere of 'The Other Guys' in Leicester Square in London September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Actor Will Ferrell reacts on the red carpet when he arrives for the UK Premiere of 'The Other Guys' in Leicester Square in London September 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Will Ferrell, whose comic impersonations and movie roles have established him as one of the most well-known U.S. humorists, is to receive the annual Mark Twain prize for American Humor.

Ferrell will receive one of the nation's highest honors in the world of comedy on October 23 at a special presentation night held at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington D.C., the Kennedy Center said on Thursday.

Ferrell, 43, first established himself in the world of comedy along with many top U.S. comedians before him on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Last year's recipient of the Twain prize, Tina Fey, also worked on the program.

Besides starring in numerous movies from "Talladega Nights" to "Step Brothers" and "Blades of Glory", Ferrell co-founded the comedy website Funny or Die in 2007 and made his Broadway debut in 2009 with a one-man satire impersonating former President George W. Bush.

The Mark Twain Prize, established in 1998, recognizes people who have had an impact on society comparable to the 19th century satirist and writer of novels such as "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

Previous winners include actor Bill Cosby, stand-up comedian George Carlin, actor Steve Martin and playwright Neil Simon.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Patricia Reaney)

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