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Mel Brooks

Comedian / Filmmaker

Born: 28 June 1926
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: The guy who made Blazing Saddles and The Producers

Name at birth: Melvin Kaminsky

Mel Brooks is that short, funny Jewish guy who is known to moviegoers as the man behind The Producers (1968), Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974). Throughout the 1950s Brooks wrote comedy for TV star Sid Caesar (Your Show of Shows), and worked with Carl Reiner, his partner in the hugely successful comedy recording, "The 2,000 Year-Old Man" (1960). In the 1960s Brooks became a big star. He won an Oscar for a cartoon short, The Critic (1963), created the hit TV show Get Smart (1965-70) and wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for his directorial debut, The Producers (1968). Brooks has worked frequently with actor Gene Wilder, and together they made some of the most popular comedies of the 1970s, including Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein. In recent years Brooks has had enormous success with the play adaptation of The Producers, a Broadway smash since 2001. His other films include Silent Movie (1976), History of the World Part One (1981) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993).

Extra credit: Brooks was married to Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005... Brooks's stage adaptation of The Producers opened on Broadway in 2001 and starred Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. The production won 12 Tony Awards, the most ever given to one show... His production company, Brooksfilms, has made several successful films, including David Lynch's The Elephant Man (1980) and the remake of The Fly (1986, starring Jeff Goldblum).

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