Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks

American director, writer, actor, and producer
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  • In 2001, won three Tony Awards for "The Producers": as a co-producer of the Best Musical winner; as Best Book (Musical), with collaborator Thomas Meehan; and as Best Original Musical Score, both lyrics and music.
  • Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985." Pages 162-167. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
  • Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy", by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 63-66. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
  • Part of his duties in WWII was defusing landmines in areas before the infantry moved in.
  • In the original film version of The Producers (1968), Brooks' voice can be heard singing the line "Don't be stupid/Be a schmarty/Come and join the Nazi Party" during the "Springtime for Hitler" number. For the Broadway musical version, he repeats this task, with the live actor lip-synching to a recording of Brooks.
  • Named one of E!'s "Top 20 entertainers of 2001.".
  • The 1944 edition of the Eastern District High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.) yearbook featured the future Mel Brooks (born Melvin Kaminsky) stating that his goal was to become President of the United States; forty-three years later, in 1987, his ambition was to be fulfilled, if only in fiction and in part -- in the movie Spaceballs (1987), he portrayed Spaceball leader "President Skroob".
  • Performed a rap song for the soundtrack of History of the World: Part I (1981) called "It's Good To Be The King". It was a surprisingly successful hip-hop/dance hit in 1981. He followed it up with "Hitler Rap" for To Be or Not to Be (1983). The song was not as successful. But the lyric "Don't be stupid, be a smarty/Come and join the Nazi Party" was originally used in the original movie version of The Producers (1968), then later reused in Brooks' Broadway version of "The Producers".
  • Worked with son Nicholas Brooks at Brooksfilm. Nicholas was a story editor on The Fly (1986), The Fly II (1989) and Spaceballs (1987).
  • One of the few people to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. He won an Oscar for the screenplay of The Producers (1968); 3 Emmys in a row (1997-1999) for his guest appearance as Uncle Phil in "Mad About You" (1992); 3 Tonys for The Producers- Best Musical, Original Music Score and Book (musical); and 3 Grammys- Best Spoken Comedy Album for "The 2000 Year Old Man In The Year 2000" (1998, with Carl Reiner) and two for The Producers (2001): Best Musical Show Album (as composer/lyricist) and Best Long Form Music Video (as artist).
  • At the opening of the Brodway version of "The Producers", he was asked by a reporter if he was nervious about the play's reception, since it cost $40 million to produce. Brooks joked, "If it flops, I'll take the other sixty million and fly to Rio." He didn't have to worry, since the play was both a critical and financial success.
  • Grandson Henry Michael Brooks (Max's son) born April 2005.
  • Served as a corporal in the US army in North Africa during World War II.
  • Has directed two performers to Oscar-nominations: Gene Wilder (for The Producers (1968)) and Madeline Kahn (for Blazing Saddles (1974)).
  • He is a close friend of Italian TV star Ezio Greggio, whose movies he inspired. Brooks is often a guest in Greggio's shows, and Brooks offered Greggio a small part in his Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), due to this friendship.
  • His running "walk this way" gag is also the inspiration for the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. The gag was copied from William Powell's ad-lib in After the Thin Man (1936).
  • Named one of People Magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of 2001".
  • Godfather of Alan Yentob's children.
  • Though Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974) are often cited as his best and most popular films as a director, his biggest video sales are Spaceballs (1987) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) (which has yet to be released on DVD in the US).
  • In 1966, he was about to co-star in a movie called "Easy Come, Easy Go" with Jan Berry and Dean Torrence in the leading roles. What would have been his on-screen debut, was canceled due to a car wreck during shooting, in which Berry suffered a severe brain damage and paralysis. On the casting list was also British comedy star Terry-Thomas.
  • He produced and wrote the music, lyrics, and book for the Broadway musical version of "The Producers" (2001), a musical version of his earlier movie The Producers (1968). The hit musical then lead to the hit movie The Producers (2005).
  • Was considered for the role of Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978).
  • On NPR interview, mentioned that he attended Virginia Military Institute - was a "Brother Rat".
  • Would much rather write than direct.
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