Who is Mel Brooks?

Mel Brooks Popular Books

Mel Brooks Biography & Facts

Mel Brooks (born Melvin James Kaminsky; June 28, 1926) is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker and composer. With a career spanning over seven decades, he is known as a creator of broad farces and parodies widely considered to be among the best film comedies ever made. He began his career as a comic and a writer for Sid Caesar's variety show Your Show of Shows (1950–1954) alongside Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart. With Carl Reiner, he created the comic character The 2000 Year Old Man. He wrote, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970. In middle age, Brooks became one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s, with many of his films being among the top 10 moneymakers of the year they were released. His best-known films include The Producers (1967), The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), History of the World, Part I (1981), Spaceballs (1987), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). A musical adaptation of his first film, The Producers, ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2007 and was remade into a musical film in 2005. In 2001, having previously won an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar, he joined a small list of EGOT winners with his Tony Award wins for The Producers. He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2010, the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2013, a British Film Institute Fellowship in March 2015, a National Medal of Arts in September 2016, and a BAFTA Fellowship in February 2017. Three of his films ranked in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 comedy films of the past 100 years (1900–2000), all of which ranked in the top 15 of the list: Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.Brooks was married to actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005. Their son Max Brooks is an actor and author, known for his novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006). In 2021 Brooks published a memoir, All About Me! Early life and education Brooks was born on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York City, to Kate (née Brookman) and Max Kaminsky, and grew up in Williamsburg. His father's family were Jewish people from Gdańsk, Poland; his mother's family were Jews from Kyiv, in the Pale of Settlement of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine). He had three older brothers: Irving, Lenny, and Bernie. His father died of kidney disease at 34 when Brooks was 2 years old. He has said of his father's death, "There's an outrage there. I may be angry at God, or at the world, for that. And I'm sure a lot of my comedy is based on anger and hostility. Growing up in Williamsburg, I learned to clothe it in comedy to spare myself problems—like a punch in the face."Brooks was a small, sickly boy who often was bullied and teased by his classmates because of his size. He grew up in tenement housing. At age 9, he went to a Broadway show with his uncle Joe—a taxi driver who drove the Broadway doormen back to Brooklyn for free and was given the tickets in gratitude—and saw Anything Goes with William Gaxton, Ethel Merman and Victor Moore at the Alvin Theater. After the show, he told his uncle that he was not going to work in the garment district like everyone else but was absolutely going into show business.When Brooks was 14 he gained employment as a pool tummler. Brooks kept his guests amused with his crazy antics. In a Playboy interview, he explained that one day he stood at the edge of a diving board wearing a large overcoat and two suitcases full of rocks who then announced: "Business is terrible! I can't go on!" before jumping, fully clothed into the pool. He was taught by Buddy Rich (who had also grown up in Williamsburg) how to play the drums, and started to earn money as a musician when he was 14. During his time as a drummer, he was given his first opportunity as a comedian at the age of 16, filling in for an ill MC. During his teens, he legally changed his name to Mel Brooks, influenced by his mother's maiden name Brookman, after being confused with trumpeter Max Kaminsky.Brooks graduated from Eastern District High School in January 1944 and intended to follow his older brother and enroll in Brooklyn College to study psychology. WWII service Brooks was drafted into the United States Army in 1944. After scoring highly on the Army General Classification Test, a Stanford–Binet-type IQ test, he was sent to the elite Army Specialized Training Program at the Virginia Military Institute to be taught skills such as military engineering, foreign languages, or medicine. When manpower shortages led the Army to disband the training program, Brooks returned to basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in May 1944.Brooks served as a corporal in the 1104th Engineer Combat Battalion, 78th Infantry Division, defusing land mines as the Allies advanced into Nazi Germany. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge. With the end of the war in Europe, Brooks took part in organizing shows for captured Germans and American forces. Career Early career After the war, Brooks' mother had secured him a job as a clerk at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but Brooks "got into a taxi and ordered the driver to take him to the Catskills", where he started working in various Borscht Belt resorts and nightclubs in the Catskill Mountains as a drummer and pianist. When a regular comic at one of the clubs was too sick to perform, Brooks started working as a stand-up comic, telling jokes and doing movie-star impressions. He also began acting in summer stock in Red Bank, New Jersey, and did some radio work. He eventually worked his way up to the comically aggressive job of tummler (master entertainer) at Grossinger's, one of the Borscht Belt's most famous resorts. He found more rewarding work behind the scenes, becoming a comedy writer for television. In 1949, his friend Sid Caesar hired him to write jokes for the DuMont/NBC series The Admiral Broadway Revue, paying him $50 a week. 1950s: Your Show of Shows In 1950, Caesar created the revolutionary variety comedy series Your Show of Shows and hired Brooks as a writer along with Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, and head writer Mel Tolkin. The writing staff proved widely influential. Reiner, as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, based Morey Amsterdam's character Buddy Sorell on Brooks. Likewise, the film My Favorite Year (1982) is loosely based on Brooks's experiences as a writer on the show including an encounter with the actor Errol Flynn. Neil Simon's play Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1993) is also loosely based on the production of the show, and the character Ira Stone is based on Brooks. Your Show of Shows ended in 1954 when performer Imogene Coca left to host her own show. Caesar then created Caesar's Hour with most of the same cast and writers (including Brooks and adding Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart). I.... Discover the Mel Brooks popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Mel Brooks books.

Best Seller Mel Brooks Books of January 2022

The Producers (Songbook) book summary, reviews and downlod

The Producers (Songbook)


This fabulous collection features 15 selections from Mel Brooks' classic blockbuster that swept the 2001 Tonys, winning a record 12 awards including the coveted Best Musical and Best Origina...

Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book book summary, reviews and downlod

Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book


Mel Brooks' own words telling all about the players, the filming, and studio antics during the production of this great comedy classic. The book is alive and teeming with hundreds of phot...

All About Me! book summary, reviews and downlod

All About Me!


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now he shares his story for the fi...

The Mel Brooks Songbook book summary, reviews and downlod

The Mel Brooks Songbook


Twenty-three songs from the brilliant career of Mel Brooks in arrangements for piano, voice and guitar. Songs are included from the following Broadway musicals and movies: Blazing Saddles, H...

The Producers (Songbook) book summary, reviews and downlod

The Producers (Songbook)


Mel Brooks' The Producers has the honorable distinction of being the biggest smash in the history of Broadway] The production, which won a record 12 Tony Awards, is based on Brooks' 1968 com...

The Producers (Songbook) book summary, reviews and downlod

The Producers (Songbook)


This songbook contains easy piano arrangements of a dozen songs from Mel Brooks' Broadway blockbuster, the winner of a record 12 Tony Awards] Includes: Along Came Bialy * Der Guten Tag Hop-C...

Tutto su di me! book summary, reviews and downlod

Tutto su di me!


L’attesa è finita. Per la prima volta Mel Brooks racconta la sua folgorante carriera: la storia di un ragazzo cresciuto a Brooklyn, dove usava i pochi risparmi per andare al cinema il sab...

Funny People: The Playboy Interview book summary, reviews and downlod

Funny People: The Playboy Interview


About the Series: In mid-1962, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was given a partial transcript of an interview with Miles Davis. It covered jazz, of course, but it also included Davis’s ruminat...

Young Frankenstein (Songbook) book summary, reviews and downlod

Young Frankenstein (Songbook)


From the creators of the record-breaking Broadway sensation The Producers, Young Frankenstein is based on the Oscar-nominated smash-hit 1974 film. A wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Fra...

Comic Genius book summary, reviews and downlod

Comic Genius


This star-studded tribute to the kings and queens of comedy draws together such legendary names as Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and many...

Best Seller Mel Brooks Audio Books of January 2022

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business (Unabridged) MP3 Audiobook

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business (Unabridged)

Biographies & Memoirs$14.99

At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shar...

Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book MP3 Audiobook

Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book


Mel Brooks' own words telling all about the players, the filming, and studio antics during the production of this great comedy classic. The book is alive and teeming with hundreds of phot...

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