Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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, 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.
His most recent success has been a transfer of his film, The Producers, to the Broadway stage.
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, Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year, and 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.
Brooks is one of a select group who have received an Oscar, Emmy (as both an actor and writer), Tony and Grammy. Married to actress Anne Bancroft, and the father of Max, he owns homes on both coasts. He is currently working on a sequel to Spaceballs.
- The Producers (1968) (writer, director; Academy Award, best original screenplay)
- The Twelve Chairs (1970) (writer, director, actor)
- Young Frankenstein (1974) (co-writer, director)
- Blazing Saddles (1974) (writer, director, actor)
- Silent Movie (1976) (writer, director, actor)
- High Anxiety (1978) (writer, director, actor)
- History of the World, Part I (1981) (writer, director, actor)
- To Be or Not to Be (1983) (actor)
- Spaceballs (1987) (writer, director, actor)
- Life Stinks (1991) (writer, director, actor)
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) (writer, director, actor)
- Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) (writer, director, actor)
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