Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks (born June 28, 1926) is an American actor, writer director, and theatrical producer best known as a creator of broad film farces and parodies.

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Mel Brooks

Born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York, Brooks served in the US Army during World War II as an engineer. He started out in show business as a stand-up comic before becoming a comedy writer for television, working on Your Show of Shows. In 1961, with Carl Reiner, he created the persona of the 2000 Year Old Man, a collection of ad libbed comedy routines made into a series of comedy records. With Buck Henry, he created the successful TV series Get Smart.

He later moved into film, working as an actor, director, writer and producer. Among his most popular films have been Young Frankenstein (co-written with Gene Wilder) and Blazing Saddles (co-written with Richard Pryor), both of which were released in 1974. Brooks developed a repertory company of sorts for his film work: performers with three or more Brooks films to their credit include Wilder, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman and, of course, Brooks himself.

In 1980 Brooks became interested in producing the film "The Elephant Man" directed by David Lynch. Knowing that anyone seeing the poster with "Mel Brooks presents The Elephant Man" would go along expecting a comedy, he set up the company Brooksfilm to produce the film. Brooksfilm has since produced a number of non-comedy films, including David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986), Frances, and 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, as well as comedies, including Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year.

Brooks' most recent success has been a transfer of his film The Producers to the Broadway stage. He is currently working on a sequel to his 1987 hit Spaceballs, a parody of the Star Wars films.

Brooks is one of a select group who have received an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted #50 of the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. Three of Brooks' films are on the American Film Institute's list of funniest American films: Blazing Saddles (#6), The Producers (#11), and Young Frankenstein (#13).

He was married to the actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death June 6, 2005. They met on rehearsal for the Perry Como variety show in 1961 and married 3 years later, August 5th. They had one son Maximillian in 1972. They were seen on the screen twice together: Brook's 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be and in his 1976 Silent Movie. It is reported that Bancroft encouraged Brooks to take The Producers to Broadway. Previously, Brooks was married to Florence Baum from 1951 to 1961. Their marriage ended in divorce. Mel and Florence had three children, Stefanie, Nicky, and Eddie.

Selected filmography

External links

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