Mel Brooks
Overview
Mel Brooks is an American film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, lyricist
Lyricist
A lyricist is a songwriter who specializes in lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.-Collaboration:...

, comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

, actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

. He is best known as a creator of broad film farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

s and comic parodies
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that appeared weekly in the United States on NBC , from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca....

. He became well known as part of the comedy duo with Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. He has won nine Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award during this career...

, The 2000 Year Old Man. In middle age he became one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s, with many of his films being among the top ten money makers of the year that they were released.
Quotations

Chorus: "Hope for the best. Expect the worst. / Life is a play. We're unrehearsed."

Jim "The Waco Kid" (Gene Wilder): "My name is Jim, most people call me... Jim."

Sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little): "Excuse me while I whip this out."

Sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little): "Where the white women at?"

Railway Worker : "You shifty nigger! They said you was hung!"Sheriff Bart : "And they was right!"

Josephus (Gregory Hines): "I'm Josephus, and I'm the main course over at the Colosseum!"

Encyclopedia
Mel Brooks is an American film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, lyricist
Lyricist
A lyricist is a songwriter who specializes in lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.-Collaboration:...

, comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

, actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

. He is best known as a creator of broad film farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

s and comic parodies
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that appeared weekly in the United States on NBC , from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca....

. He became well known as part of the comedy duo with Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. He has won nine Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award during this career...

, The 2000 Year Old Man. In middle age he became one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s, with many of his films being among the top ten money makers of the year that they were released. His most well known films include The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

, Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

, Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

, History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. Brooks also stars in the film, playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Tomás de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques, le garçon de pisse...

 and Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

. In his later years he had a smash hit on Broadway with the musical adaptation of his first film, The Producers
The Producers (musical)
The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich...

. He was married to the late actress Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

.

Brooks is a member of the short list of entertainers with the distinction of having won an Emmy
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

, a Grammy
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

, an Oscar and a Tony
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 award. Three of his films ranked in the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's list of the top 100 comedy films of all-time
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs is a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. A wide variety of comedies were nominated for the distinction that included slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, satire, black comedy, musical comedy, comedy of...

: Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

 at number 6, The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

 at number 11, and Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

 at number 13.

Early life

Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, a son of Maximilian Kaminsky and his wife Kate (née Brookman). His father's family were German Jews from the Baltic Sea port of Danzig
Jewish community of Danzig
The Jewish Community of Gdańsk dates back at least to the 15th century. For many centuries it was separated from the rest of the city. Under Polish rule, Jews acquired limited rights in the city in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the incorporation into Prussia the community largely assimilated...

 (the modern Polish port of Gdansk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

); his mother's family were Ukrainian Jews from Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. He had three older brothers, Irving, Lenny and Bernie. His father died of kidney disease when Brooks was only two years old. Brooks has said of his father's death that "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 was often bullied and picked on by his classmates. He was taught by Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Bernard "Buddy" Rich was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" and was known for his virtuosic technique, power, groove, and speed.-Early life:...

 (who had also grown up in Williamsburg) to learn how to play the drums and started earning money at it when he was fourteen. Following high school, he spent a year at Brooklyn College as a psychology major before being drafted into the army. He attended the Army Specialized Training Program
Army Specialized Training Program
The Army Specialized Training Program was a military training program instituted by the United States Army during World War II at a number of American universities to meet wartime demands for junior officers and soldiers with technical skills...

 conducted at the Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute
The Virginia Military Institute , located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state-supported military college and one of six senior military colleges in the United States. Unlike any other military college in the United States—and in keeping with its founding principles—all VMI students are...

 (although not actually as a VMI cadet) and served in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 as a corporal during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

.

Early career and Your Show of Shows

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Brooks started working in various Borscht Belt
Borscht Belt
Borscht Belt, or Jewish Alps, is a colloquial term for the mostly defunct summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties in upstate New York that were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews from the 1920s through the 1960s.-Name:The name comes from...

 resorts and nightclubs in the Catskill Mountains
Catskill Mountains
The Catskill Mountains, an area in New York State northwest of New York City and southwest of Albany, are a mature dissected plateau, an uplifted region that was subsequently eroded into sharp relief. They are an eastward continuation, and the highest representation, of the Allegheny Plateau...

 as a drummer and pianist. Around this time he changed his professional name to "Mel Brooks" after being confused with the well-known Borscht Belt trumpet player Max Kaminsky. After a regular comic at one of the nightclubs was too sick to perform one night, Brooks started working as a stand-up comic, telling jokes and doing movie-star impressions. He also began acting in summer stock in Redbank, 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
Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel
Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel was a resort in the Catskill Mountains in the Town of Liberty, near the village of Liberty, New York. It is part of the Borscht Belt. After decades of activity and notable guests, it closed its doors in 1986.-History:...

, one of the Borscht Belt most famous resorts.

Brooks found more rewarding work behind the scenes, becoming a comedy writer for television. In 1949 his friend Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

 hired Brooks to write jokes for the NBC series The Admiral Broadway Revue
The Admiral Broadway Revue
The Admiral Broadway Revue is an American variety show that premiered on January 28, 1949, and was broadcast live simultaneously on both NBC and the now-defunct DuMont network.-Overview:...

, paying him $50 a week. In 1950, Caesar created the revolutionary variety comedy series Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that appeared weekly in the United States on NBC , from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca....

 and hired Brooks as a writer along with Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. He has won nine Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award during this career...

, Neil Simon
Neil Simon
Neil Simon is an American playwright and screenwriter. He has written numerous Broadway plays, including Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and The Odd Couple. He won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Lost In Yonkers. He has written the screenplays for several of his plays that...

, Danny Simon
Danny Simon
Danny Simon was an American television writer and comedy teacher. He was also older brother to acclaimed American playwright Neil Simon....

, and head writer Mel Tolkin
Mel Tolkin
Mel Tolkin, né Shmuel Tolchinsky , was a television comedy writer best known as head writer of the seminal, live TV sketch comedy series Your Show of Shows during the Golden Age of Television. There he presided over a storied staff that at times included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, and...

. The show was an immediate hit and has been influential to all variety and sketch-comedy TV shows since. Carl Reiner, as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on the Columbia Broadcasting System from October 3, 1961, until June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. It was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff....

, based Morey Amsterdam
Morey Amsterdam
Morey Amsterdam was an American television actor and comedian, best known for the role of Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the early 1960s.-Early life:...

's character Buddy Sorell on Brooks. Likewise the 1982 film My Favorite Year
My Favorite Year
My Favorite Year is a 1982 American comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin which tells the story of a young comedy writer. It stars Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, Joseph Bologna, Lou Jacobi, Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, Selma Diamond, Cameron Mitchell, and Gloria Stuart. O'Toole was...

 is loosely based on Brooks' experiences as a writer on the show and an encounter with aging Hollywood actor Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
Errol Leslie Flynn was an Australian-born actor. He was known for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films, being a legend and his flamboyant lifestyle.-Early life:...

. Neil Simon's 1993 play Laughter on the 23rd Floor
Laughter on the 23rd Floor
Laughter on the 23rd Floor is a play by Neil Simon.Inspired by Simon's early career experience as a junior jokesmith for Your Show of Shows, the play focuses on Sid Caesar/Jackie Gleason-like Max Prince, the star of a weekly comedy-variety show circa 1953, and his staff, including Simon's...

 is also loosely based on the production of the show, and the character Ira Stone is based on Brooks.

Your Show of Shows would end in 1954 when performer Imogene Coca
Imogene Coca
Imogene Fernandez de Coca was an American comic actress best known for her role opposite Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows....

 left to host her own show. Caesar then created Caesar's Hour
Caesar's Hour
Caesar's Hour is a live, hour-long American sketch comedy television program that aired on NBC from 1954 until 1957. The program starred, among others, Sid Caesar, Nanette Fabray, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Janet Blair and Milt Kamen, and featured a number of cameo roles by famous entertainers...

 with most of the same cast and writers (including Brooks and adding Larry Gelbart
Larry Gelbart
Larry Simon Gelbart was an American television writer, playwright, screenwriter and author.-Early life:...

). Caesar's Hour ran from 1954 until 1957.

In 1957 Brooks wrote the book for his first Broadway musical Shinbone Alley
Shinbone Alley
Shinbone Alley is a musical with a book by Joe Darion and Mel Brooks, lyrics by Darion, and music by George Kleinsinger. Based on archy and mehitabel, a series of New York Tribune columns by Don Marquis, it focuses on poetic cockroach Archy, alley cat Mehitabel, and her relationships with...

.

The 2000 Year Old Man and Get Smart

Brooks and co-writer Reiner had become fast friends and began to casually improvise comedy routines when they weren't working. Reiner would play the straight man interviewer who would set Brooks up as anything from a Tibetan Monk to an astronaut. As Reiner explained, "In the evening we'd go to a party and I'd pick a character for him to play. I never told him what it was going to be." On one of these occasions Reiner's suggestion was a 2000 Year Old Man
2000 Year Old Man
The 2000 Year Old Man is a persona in a comedy skit, originally created by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner in 1961.Mel Brooks played the oldest man in the world, interviewed by Carl Reiner in a series of comedy routines that appeared on television, as well as being made into a collection of records...

 who had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (who "came in the store but never bought anything"), had been married several hundred times and had "over forty-two thousand children, and not one comes to visit me." At first Brooks and Reiner would only perform the routine for friends but by the late 1950s had gained a cult status in New York City. Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Peacock Tynan was an influential and often controversial English theatre critic and writer.-Early life:...

 saw the comedy duo perform at a party in 1959 and wrote that Brooks "was the most original comic improvisor I had ever seen."

In 1960, Brooks moved from New York to Hollywood. He and Reiner began performing the 2000 Year Old Man act on the Steve Allen Show. Their performances led to the release of the comedy album 2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks that sold over a million copies in 1961. They eventually expanded their routine with two more albums in 1961 and 1962, a revival in 1973, a 1975 animated TV special and a reunion album in 1998.

Brooks adapted the 2000 Year Old Man character to create the 2500 Year Old Brewmaster for Ballantine Beer in the 1960s. Interviewed by Dick Cavett
Dick Cavett
Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues...

 in a series of ads, the Brewmaster (in a German accent, as opposed to the 2000 Year Old Man's Jewish voice) said he was inside the original Trojan horse and "could've used a six-pack of fresh air."

In 1962 Brooks wrote the Broadway musical All American. Brooks wrote the play with lyrics by Lee Adams
Lee Adams
Lee Richard Adams is an American lyricist best known for his musical theatre collaboration with Charles Strouse.Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Adams received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio State University and a Master's from Columbia University.Adams won Tony Awards in 1961 for Bye Bye Birdie...

, and music by Charles Strouse
Charles Strouse
Charles Strouse is an American composer and lyricist.-Life and career:Strouse was born and raised in New York City, the son of Ira and Ethel Strouse...

. The show starred Ray Bolger
Ray Bolger
Raymond Wallace "Ray" Bolger was an American entertainer of stage and screen, best known for his portrayal of the Scarecrow and Kansas farmworker Hank in The Wizard of Oz.-Early life:...

 as a southern science Professor at a large university who uses the principles of engineering on the college's football team and the team begins to win games. The show was directed by Joshua Logan
Joshua Logan
Joshua Lockwood Logan III was an American stage and film director and writer.-Early years:Logan was born in Texarkana, Texas, the son of Susan and Joshua Lockwood Logan. When he was three years old his father committed suicide...

, who script doctored the second act and added a gay subtext to the plot. The show ran for 80 performances and received two Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 nominations.

In 1963 Brooks was involved in the animated short film The Critic
The Critic (cartoon)
The Critic is a 1963 short animation by director/producer Ernest Pintoff and creator/narrator Mel Brooks, that won an Academy Award for Short Subjects in 1963....

, a satire of arty, esoteric cinema, conceived by Brooks and directed by Ernest Pintoff
Ernest Pintoff
Ernest Pintoff was an American film and television director, screenwriter and film producer....

. Brooks supplied running commentary as the baffled moviegoer trying to make sense of the obscure visuals. The short film won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film
Academy Award for Animated Short Film
The Academy Award for Animated Short Film is an award which has been given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of the Academy Awards every year since the 5th Academy Awards, covering the year 1931-32, to the present....

.

In 1965, Brooks teamed up with comedy writer Buck Henry
Buck Henry
Henry Zuckerman, better known as Buck Henry , is an American actor, writer, film director, and television director.-Early life:...

 to create a comedic TV show about a bumbling James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 inspired spy. Brooks explains, "I was sick of looking at all those nice sensible situation comedies. They were such distortions of life...I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family. No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first." The show that Brooks and Henry created was Get Smart
Get Smart
Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre. Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show starred Don Adams , Barbara Feldon , and Edward Platt...

, starring Don Adams
Don Adams
Don Adams was an American actor, comedian and director. In his five decades on television, he was best known as Maxwell Smart in the television situation comedy Get Smart , which he also sometimes directed and wrote. Adams won three consecutive Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Smart...

 as a Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. This series ran from 1965 until 1970, although Brooks was not involved with its production after the pilot episode. Get Smart was highly rated for most of its production and won seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1968 and 1969.

Brooks had married actress Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

 in 1964 and the two lived together in New York City.

Early Career as a Film Director

For several years Brooks had been toying with a bizarre and unconventional idea about a musical comedy about Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Brooks explored the idea as a novel and a play before finally writing a script. Eventually Brooks was able to find two producers to fund the film: Joseph E. Levine
Joseph E. Levine
Joseph E. Levine was an American film producer.He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His Embassy Pictures Corporation was an independent studio and distributor responsible for such films as Hercules , The Carpetbaggers, Harlow, The Graduate, A Bridge Too Far and The Lion in Winter.Levine is famous...

 and Sidney Glazier
Sidney Glazier
Sidney Glazer was an American film producer best known for his work on the Mel Brooks film The Producers.-Early life:...

 and made his first feature film, The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

 in 1968. The film starred Zero Mostel
Zero Mostel
Samuel Joel “Zero” Mostel was an American actor of stage and screen, best known for his portrayal of comic characters such as Tevye on stage in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus on stage and on screen in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Max Bialystock in the original film version...

, Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

, Dick Shawn
Dick Shawn
Dick Shawn was an American actor and comedian.-Early life and career:Shawn was born as Richard Schulefand in Buffalo, New York. He played Sylvester Marcus, son of Mrs. Marcus , in Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Lorenzo St...

, Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars was an American television, movie, and voice actor. He may be best-remembered for his roles in several Mel Brooks films: the insane Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in 1968's The Producers, and the relentless Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Fredrich Kemp in 1974's Young Frankenstein...

, Christopher Hewett
Christopher Hewett
Christopher Michael Hewett was an English actor and theatre director best known for his role as Lynn Belvedere on the ABC sitcom Mr. Belvedere.-Career:...

, Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas was a Greek actor and theater director. In the English-speaking world, he was best known for his roles in three Mel Brooks films, The Producers , The Twelve Chairs and History of the World, Part I .CareerAndreas Voutsinas was born in Khartoum, Sudan on 22 August 1932 by parents...

 and Lee Meredith
Lee Meredith
Lee Meredith is an American actress. She was born Judith Lee Sauls and grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. She is married to Burt Stratford....

, with music by John Morris
John Morris (composer)
John Morris is an American film and television composer, best known for his work with filmmaker Mel Brooks.-Life and career:...

.

The Producers begins when Max Bialystock (Mostel), a once-successful Broadway producer who whores himself out to elderly women in order to make ends meet and produce plays, meets Leo Bloom (Wilder), a lonely and hyper-hysterical accountant. While Leo is looking over Max's books, he realizes that a producer could make more money producing a flop than a hit simply by raising more money than was needed and then ensuring that the play would not make any profits to pay back the play's backers with. Max and Leo then search for the worst play ever written, which turns out to be Springtime for Hitler, by Franz Liebkind (Mars). The play is described as "a gay romp with Adolph and Eva through Berchtesgaden", and turns into a musical comedy under Max and Leo's leadership. After assembling an equally abysmal director Roger De Bris (Hewett) and a brain-dead hippie to play Hitler (Shawn), Max and Leo expect to become rich with the expected flop. But the audience interprets the play as a satire and it becomes a huge comedic hit. Not wanting to go to jail, Max, Leo and Franz decide to blow up the theater, but are caught in the explosion and eventually sentenced to prison, where they promptly produce a musical revue with prison inmates.

The Producers was so brazen in its satire that the major studios would not touch it, nor would many exhibitors. Brooks finally found an independent distributor, which released it like an art film, as a specialized attraction. In 1968 Brooks received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film, beating such writers as Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer who lived in England during most of the last four decades of his career...

 and John Cassavetes
John Cassavetes
John Nicholas Cassavetes was an American actor, screenwriter and filmmaker. He acted in many Hollywood films, notably Rosemary's Baby and The Dirty Dozen...

. The Producers became a smash underground hit, first on the nationwide college circuit, then in revivals and on home video. Brooks later turned it into a musical
The Producers (musical)
The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich...

, which became hugely successful on Broadway, receiving an unprecedented twelve Tony awards.

With the moderate financial success of The Producers, Glazier financed Brooks' next film in 1970, The Twelve Chairs
The Twelve Chairs (1970 film)
The Twelve Chairs is a 1970 American slapstick comedy film directed by Mel Brooks, starring Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise and Ron Moody. The screenplay was written by Brooks. The film is loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov...

. Loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs
The Twelve Chairs
The Twelve Chairs is a classic satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov, released in 1928. Its main character Ostap Bender reappears in the book's sequel The Little Golden Calf.-Plot:...

 by Ilf and Petrov
Ilf and Petrov
Ilya Ilf Ilya Ilf Ilya Ilf (Ilya Arnoldovich Faynzilberg and Evgeny or Yevgeni Petrov (Yevgeniy Petrovich Kataev or Katayev were two Soviet prose authors of the 1920s and 1930s...

 about greedy materialism in post-Revolutionary Russia, the film stars Ron Moody
Ron Moody
Ron Moody is an English actor.- Personal life :Moody was born in Tottenham, North London, England, the son of Kate and Bernard Moodnick, a studio executive. His father was of Russian Jewish descent and his mother was a Lithuanian Jew. He is a cousin of director Laurence Moody and actress Clare...

, Frank Langella
Frank Langella
-Early life:Langella, an Italian American, was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, the son of Angelina and Frank A. Langella Sr., a business executive who was the president of the Bayonne Barrel and Drum Company. Langella attended Washington Elementary School and Bayonne High School in Bayonne...

 and Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

 as three men separately searching for a fortune in diamonds hidden in a set of twelve antique chairs. Brooks himself has a cameo as an alcoholic ex-serf who "yearns for the regular beatings of yesteryear." The film was shot in Yugoslavia with a budget of $1.5 million. The film received poor reviews and was not successful financially.

Success as a Hollywood Director

Brooks then wrote an adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith was an Irish writer, poet and physician known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield , his pastoral poem The Deserted Village , and his plays The Good-Natur'd Man and She Stoops to Conquer...

's She Stoops to Conquer
She Stoops to Conquer
She Stoops to Conquer is a comedy by the Irish author Oliver Goldsmith, son of an Anglo-Irish vicar, first performed in London in 1773. The play is a great favourite for study by English literature and theatre classes in Britain and the United States. It is one of the few plays from the 18th...

, but was unable to sell the idea to any studios and believed that his career was over. In 1972 Brooks met agent David Begelman
David Begelman
David Begelman was a Hollywood producer who was involved in a studio embezzlement scandal in the 1970s.-Agent and studio head:...

, who helped him set up a deal with Warner Brothers to hire Brooks (as well as Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets...

, Andrew Bergman
Andrew Bergman
Andrew Bergman is an American screenwriter, film director, and novelist. New York magazine in 1985 dubbed him "The Unknown King of Comedy".He graduated from Binghamton University and earned a Ph.D...

, Norman Steinberg and Al Uger) as a script doctor for an unproduced script called Tex-X. Eventually Brooks got hired on as director for what would become Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

, his third film.

Blazing Saddles starred Cleavon Little
Cleavon Little
Cleavon Jake Little was an American film and theatre actor.Little was widely known for his lead role as Sheriff Bart in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles. He also was the irreverent Dr...

, Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

, Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
Harvey Herschel Korman was an American comedic actor who performed in television and movie productions beginning in 1960...

, Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens
Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. , better known by the stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor who epitomized the profane, tough, sardonic cowboy, but who is best remembered for his comic roles, notably in Dr...

, Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Alex Karras
Alex Karras
Alexander George "Alex" Karras , nicknamed "The Mad Duck", is a former football player, professional wrestler, and actor, best known for his stint with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League from 1958–1962 and 1964-1970 and for his role as Mongo in the film Blazing Saddles...

 and Brooks himself, with cameos by Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

 and Count Basie
Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

. The film had music by Brooks and John Morris and received a modest budget of $2.6 million. The film is a satire on the Western film genre and references such older films as Destry Rides Again
Destry Rides Again
Destry Rides Again is a western starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart. The supporting cast includes Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger, Brian Donlevy, Allen Jenkins, Irene Hervey, Billy Gilbert, Bill Cody, Jr., and Una Merkel. The original Max Brand novel was translated into an "oater" with the...

, High Noon
High Noon
High Noon is a 1952 American Western film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. The film tells in real time the story of a town marshal forced to face a gang of killers by himself...

, Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 Italian epic spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone for Paramount Pictures. It stars Henry Fonda cast against type as the villain, Charles Bronson as his nemesis, Jason Robards as a bandit, and Claudia Cardinale as a newly widowed homesteader with a...

 and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1927 novel by the mysterious German-English bilingual author B. Traven, in which two penurious Americans of the 1920s join with an old-timer, in Mexico, to prospect for gold...

 as well as a surreal scene towards the end of the film that references the extravagant musicals of Busby Berkeley
Busby Berkeley
Busby Berkeley was a highly influential Hollywood movie director and musical choreographer. Berkeley was famous for his elaborate musical production numbers that often involved complex geometric patterns...

.

In the film, the small town of Rock Ridge is in on the path of the new railroad being built. In order to buy the land on the route more cheaply, the corrupt State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Korman) and the dim-witted State Governor (Brooks) plot to drive the townspeople out by appointing as their new sheriff a black man, Bart (Little). The racist townspeople are slow to accept Sheriff Bart, but with the help of the drunken ex-gunslinger the Waco Kid (Wilder) he is able to rid the town of all crime and problems and wins the people over. Realizing that they have to do something to destroy Bart's reputation, Lamarr sends the saloon singer Lili von Shtupp (Kahn) to seduce and corrupt Bart. However, she ends up falling in love with him, so as a final effort to drive the townspeople away, Lamarr organizes a raid to burn the town to the ground. But, under Bart's leadership, the townspeople are able to fight off Lamarr's men, and in the ensuing fight the film itself spills over into other films being shot on the Warner brother lot, such as a musical directed by the temperamental Dom DeLuise. In the end the townspeople are saved and Sheriff Bart rides off into the sunset.

Upon its release, Blazing Saddles was the second highest grossing film domestically of 1974, earning $119.5 million worldwide. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a success with younger audiences. It was nominated for three Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Best Film Editing
Academy Award for Film Editing
The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

, and Best Music, Original Song
Academy Award for Best Original Song
The Academy Award for Best Original Song is one of the awards given annually to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences . It is presented to the songwriters who have composed the best original song written specifically for a film...

. The film won the Writers Guild of America Award
Writers Guild of America Award
The Writers Guild of America Award for outstanding achievements in film, television, and radio has been presented annually by the Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West since 1949...

 for "Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
The Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay is one of the three film writing awards given by the Writers Guild of America Award....

" and in 2006 it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

. Brooks has said that the film "has to do with love more than anything else. I mean when that black guy rides into that Old Western town and even a little old lady says 'Up yours nigger!', you know that his heart is broken. So its really the story of that heart being mended."

When Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

 replaced Gig Young
Gig Young
Gig Young was an American film, stage, and television actor. Known mainly for second leads and supporting roles, Young won an Academy Award for his performance as a dance-marathon emcee in the 1969 film, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?.-Early life and career:Born Byron Elsworth Barr in St...

 as the Waco Kid, he did so only if Brooks agreed that his next film would be an idea that Wilder had been working on: a spoof of the old Universal
Universal Monsters
Universal Monsters or Universal Horror is the name given to a series of distinctive horror, suspense and science fiction films made by Universal Studios from 1923 to 1960...

 Frankenstein
Frankenstein (1931 film)
Frankenstein is a 1931 Pre-Code Horror Monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Shelley. The film stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff, and features...

 films. Just after filming for Blazing Saddles was completed Wilder and Brooks began writing the script for Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

 and shot the film in the spring of 1974. The film starred Wilder, Marty Feldman
Marty Feldman
Martin Alan "Marty" Feldman was an English comedy writer, comedian and actor who starred in a series of British television comedy shows, including At Last the 1948 Show, and Marty, which won two BAFTA awards and was the first Saturn Award winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Young...

, Peter Boyle
Peter Boyle
Peter Lawrence Boyle, Jr. was an American actor, best known for his role as Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, and as a comical monster in Mel Brooks' film spoof Young Frankenstein ....

, Teri Garr
Teri Garr
-Early life:Garr was born in Lakewood, Ohio in 1947. Her father, Eddie Garr , was a vaudeville performer, comedian and actor whose career peaked when he briefly took over the lead role in the Broadway drama Tobacco Road...

, Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

, Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars was an American television, movie, and voice actor. He may be best-remembered for his roles in several Mel Brooks films: the insane Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in 1968's The Producers, and the relentless Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Fredrich Kemp in 1974's Young Frankenstein...

 and Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman
Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman is an American actor and novelist.Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde...

 in a memorable cameo role. Composer John Morris once again provided the music score and Universal Monsters
Universal Monsters
Universal Monsters or Universal Horror is the name given to a series of distinctive horror, suspense and science fiction films made by Universal Studios from 1923 to 1960...

 film special effects veteran Kenneth Strickfaden
Kenneth Strickfaden
Ken Strickfaden, short for Kenneth Strickfaden was an electrician, film set designer, and electrical special effects creator...

 worked on the film.

Young Frankenstein stars Wilder as the young American scientist Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
Frederick Frankenstein
Frederick Frankenstein is a fictional character and the main protagonist in the 1974 comedy film Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks and the 2007 Broadway musical of the same name.-1974 film:...

 who travels to Transylvania to visit his famous grandfather's castle and laboratory. With the help of the hunchback servant Igor (Feldman), beautiful assistant Inga (Garr) and suspicious housekeeper Frau Blücher (Leachman), Frankenstein discovers his grandfathers notebooks and attempts to continue his work in reanimation. He builds his creation, the monster (Boyle), but Igor accidentally obtains an abnormal brain and the monster is violent and uncontrollable. When the monster escapes he terrorizes the countryside before Frankenstein can lure him back to the castle and civilize him, ending in a sophisticated and humorous rendition of Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.His first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous...

's "Puttin' on the Ritz
Puttin' on the Ritz
"Puttin' on the Ritz" is a popular song written and published in 1929 by Irving Berlin and introduced by Harry Richman in the musical film Puttin' on the Ritz . The title derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz," meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the...

". But the monsters violent tendencies come back and he is put in jail by Inspector Kemp (Mars). In the meantime Frankenstein has begun a relationship with Inga just before his insufferable fiance Elizabeth (Kahn) arrives at the castle. The monster escapes from jail and kidnaps Elizabeth, then seduces her to her satisfaction. Frankenstein is able to get the monster back again and attempts a dangerous experiment of sharing part of his brain with the monster, which succeeds in civilizing him. In the end Frankenstein and Inga are happily married, as are Elizabeth and the monster.

Young Frankenstein was the third highest grossing film domestically of 1974, just behind Blazing Saddles. It earned $86 million worldwide and received two Academy Award nominations: Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source...

 and Academy Award for Best Sound. It received some of the best reviews of Brooks' career and even Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. Earlier in her career, her work appeared in City Lights, McCall's and The New Republic....

 liked the film, saying that "Brooks makes a leap up as a director because, although the comedy doesn't build, he carries the story through...Brooks even has a satisfying windup, which makes this just about the only comedy of recent years that doesn't collapse."

In 1975, at the height of his movie career, Brooks tried TV again with When Things Were Rotten
When Things Were Rotten
When Things Were Rotten was an American situation comedy television series created in 1975 by Mel Brooks and aired for half a season by ABC....

, a Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 parody that lasted only 13 episodes. Nearly twenty years later, in response to the 1991 hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a 1991 American adventure film directed by Kevin Reynolds. Kevin Costner heads the cast list as Robin Hood...

, Brooks mounted another Robin Hood parody with Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 French-American adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. Produced and directed by Mel Brooks, the film stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut...

. Brooks's film resurrected several pieces of dialog from his TV series, as well as from earlier Brooks films.

In 1976, Brooks followed up his two hit films with an audacious idea: the first feature-length silent comedy in four decades. Silent Movie
Silent Movie
Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976...

 was written bv Brooks and Ron Clark
Ron Clark (writer)
Ron Clark is an American playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for several plays that he co-wrote with Sam Bobrick and for co-writing the screenplays for the films Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Life Stinks with Mel Brooks.-Career:...

 and starred Brooks (in his first leading role), Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

 and Marty Feldman
Marty Feldman
Martin Alan "Marty" Feldman was an English comedy writer, comedian and actor who starred in a series of British television comedy shows, including At Last the 1948 Show, and Marty, which won two BAFTA awards and was the first Saturn Award winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Young...

, Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

, Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters is an American actress, singer and children's book author from Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, films and television, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings...

 and in cameo roles playing themselves: Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

, Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds
Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds, Jr. is an American actor. Some of his memorable roles include Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Bobby "Gator" McCluskey in White Lightning and sequel Gator, Paul Crewe and Coach Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard and its...

, James Caan
James Caan
James Caan is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in The Godfather, Thief, Misery, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song, Rollerball, Kiss Me Goodbye, Elf, and El Dorado...

, Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli
Liza May Minnelli is an American actress and singer. She is the daughter of singer and actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli....

, Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

 and, ironically, Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau was an internationally acclaimed French actor and mime most famous for his persona as Bip the Clown.-Early years:...

, who uttered the film's single word of audible dialogue: "Non!"

In the film Brooks plays Mel Funn, a recovered alcoholic and once successful director who convinces the Chief of his studio (Caesar) that a silent film
Silent film
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

 could still be profitable and will save the studio from being taken over from the evil conglomerate Engulf & Devour (a thinly disguised reference to Gulf+Western
Gulf+Western
Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., for a number of years known as Gulf+Western, was an American conglomerate.- History :Gulf and Western's prosaic origins date to a manufacturer named Michigan Bumper Co. founded in 1934, though Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover of what was then Michigan...

's takeover of Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

). With help from his two assistants (DeLuise and Feldman), Funn enlists several well known movie stars to appear in the film and assure its success. Worried that Funn's success will prevent their takeover, Engulf & Devour send the sexy nightclub singer Vilma Kaplan (Peters) to seduce and distract Funn. But Kaplan and Funn fall in love with each other and Funn is able to complete the film. In the end the film is a hit with audiences.

Although not as successful as his previous two films, Silent Movie was a hit film and grossed $36 million. Later that year Brooks was named number 5 on a list of the Top Ten Box Office Stars.

In 1977 Brooks made a parody of the films of Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

, High Anxiety
High Anxiety
High Anxiety is a 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead. This is Brooks' first film as a producer and first "speaking" lead role...

. The film was written by Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy De Luca
Rudy De Luca
Rudy De Luca is an American screenwriter and actor best known for his work with filmmaker Mel Brooks.-As Writer:*The Carol Burnett Show *The Tim Conway Show *The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine...

 and Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson is an American screenwriter, film director, actor, and producer of film and television. His films include Good Morning, Vietnam, Sleepers and Rain Man.-Early life:...

 and was the first movie produced by Brooks himself. It starred Brooks, Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

, Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
Harvey Herschel Korman was an American comedic actor who performed in television and movie productions beginning in 1960...

, Ron Carey
Ron Carey
Ron Carey may refer to:*Ron Carey , American film and television actor who appeared in Barney Miller and in several films by Mel Brooks*Ron Carey , former president of the Teamsters union...

, Howard Morris
Howard Morris
Howard Morris was an American comic actor and director who was best known for his role as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show.- Life and career :...

 and Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten
Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten is an American actor, best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the television sitcom Eight is Enough. He began work as a child actor and was successful on the [New York] stage, appearing in more than a dozen plays as a teenager...

. The film satirizes such Hitchcock classic films as Vertigo
Vertigo (film)
Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

, Spellbound
Spellbound (1945 film)
Spellbound is a psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus...

, Psycho, The Birds
The Birds (film)
The Birds is a 1963 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1952 short story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few...

, North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

, Dial M for Murder
Dial M for Murder
Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American thriller film adapted from a successful stage play by Frederick Knott, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings. The movie was released by the Warner Bros...

 and Suspicion
Suspicion (film)
Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans, Heather Angel, and Leo G...

.

The film stars Brooks as Professor Richard H. (for Harpo) Thorndyke, a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 winning psychologist who also happens to suffer from high anxiety. Thorndyke is appointed the director of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous, which also employs the sadistic Nurse Diesel (Leachman) and the masochistic Dr. Montague (Korman). Things at the hospital are not what they seem and as Thorndyke becomes increasingly suspicious of Diesel and Montague, he is approached by the mysterious Hitchcockian-blonde Victoria Brisbane (Kahn), whose father is a patient at the hospital. Thorndyke and Brisbane uncover a plot by Diesel and Montague to imprision wealthy patients for profit and Thorndyke is framed for a murder. On the run as a Hitchcockian Wrong Man, Thorndyke is able to rescue Brisbane's father and clear himself of all crimes, marrying Brisbane in the end. The film was another modest hit for Brooks, earning $31 million and received mixed reviews.

Later Film Career

By 1980, Siskel and Ebert
Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews was an American film review show, running for over two decades on Public Broadcasting Service . It was created by WTTW, a PBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered on September 4, 1975 as a monthly local-only show called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, and was renamed in...

 called Brooks and Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 "the two most successful comedy directors in the world today ... America's two funniest filmmakers." That year, Brooks produced the dramatic film The Elephant Man
The Elephant Man (film)
The Elephant Man is a 1980 American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick , a severely deformed man in 19th century London...

 (directed by David Lynch
David Lynch
David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

). Knowing that anyone seeing a poster reading "Mel Brooks presents The Elephant Man" would expect a comedy, he set up the company Brooksfilms. Brooksfilms has since produced a number of non-comedy films, including David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Paul Cronenberg, OC, FRSC is a Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter and actor. He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre. This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection. In his films, the...

's The Fly
The Fly (1986 film)
The Fly is a 1986 science fiction horror film co-written and directed by David Cronenberg. Produced by 20th Century Fox, and Brooksfilms, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. It is a remake of the 1958 film of the same name, but retains only the basic premise of a scientist...

, Frances
Frances
Frances is a 1982 American drama film starring Jessica Lange, Kim Stanley, and Sam Shepard. When it was released this film was advertised as a purportedly true account of actress Frances Farmer's life but the script was largely fictional and sensationalized...

, and 84 Charing Cross Road
84 Charing Cross Road (film)
84 Charing Cross Road is a 1987 British/American drama film directed by David Hugh Jones. The screenplay by Hugh Whitemore is based on a play by James Roose-Evans, which itself was an adaptation of the 1970 epistolary memoir of the same name by Helene Hanff, a compilation of letters between herself...

, starring Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

 and Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

, as well as comedies, including Richard Benjamin
Richard Benjamin
Richard Benjamin is an American actor and film director. He has starred in a number of productions, including Goodbye, Columbus , based on the novella by Philip Roth, and Westworld .-Life and career:...

's My Favorite Year
My Favorite Year
My Favorite Year is a 1982 American comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin which tells the story of a young comedy writer. It stars Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, Joseph Bologna, Lou Jacobi, Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, Selma Diamond, Cameron Mitchell, and Gloria Stuart. O'Toole was...

, which was partially based on his real life. Brooks sought to purchase the rights to 84 Charing Cross Road
84 Charing Cross Road (film)
84 Charing Cross Road is a 1987 British/American drama film directed by David Hugh Jones. The screenplay by Hugh Whitemore is based on a play by James Roose-Evans, which itself was an adaptation of the 1970 epistolary memoir of the same name by Helene Hanff, a compilation of letters between herself...

 for his wife, Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

, for many years. He successfully obtained the rights to the movie and presented them to her as an anniversary gift.

In 1981 Brooks joked that the only genres that he had not spoofed were historical epics and Biblical spectacles. History of the World Part I was a tongue-in-cheek look at human culture from the Dawn of Man
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 to the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. The film was written, produced and directed by Brooks with narration by Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

. It starred Brooks, Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

, Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
Harvey Herschel Korman was an American comedic actor who performed in television and movie productions beginning in 1960...

, Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

, Ron Carey
Ron Carey
Ron Carey may refer to:*Ron Carey , American film and television actor who appeared in Barney Miller and in several films by Mel Brooks*Ron Carey , former president of the Teamsters union...

, Gregory Hines
Gregory Hines
Gregory Oliver Hines was an American actor, singer, dancer and choreographer.-Early years:Born in New York City, Hines and his older brother Maurice started dancing at an early age, studying with choreographer Henry LeTang...

, Mary-Margaret Humes
Mary-Margaret Humes
Mary-Margaret Humes is an American actress best known in recent years for playing Gail Leery, the title character's mother on the WB television drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003.- Biography :...

, Pamela Stephenson
Pamela Stephenson
Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly is a New Zealand-born Australian clinical psychologist and writer now resident in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s...

, Spike Milligan
Spike Milligan
Terence Alan Patrick Seán "Spike" Milligan Hon. KBE was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. His early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the...

, Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

 and John Hurt
John Hurt
John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor, known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York...

.

The episodic film begins with "The Dawn of Man", starring Caesar as a Caveman who discovers fire and music. Next it covers "The Old Testament", where Brooks plays a bumbling Moses who breaks one of God's tablets, thus denying humans of 5 of the original 15 commandments. In "The Roman Emperor", Brooks plays a stand-up philosopher who, along with a Vestal Virgin (Humes) and a slave (Hines), gets in trouble with Emporer Nero (DeLuise) and Empress Nympho (Kahn), but manage to escape unharmed. Eventually Brooks gets a job as the waiter at the Last Supper of Jesus (Hurt). In "The Spanish Inquisition", Brooks portrays the violent and tragic Inquisition of Jews as a grandiose Busby Berkeley
Busby Berkeley
Busby Berkeley was a highly influential Hollywood movie director and musical choreographer. Berkeley was famous for his elaborate musical production numbers that often involved complex geometric patterns...

-like musical number. In "The French Revolution" Brooks plays both King Louis and the King's lookalike "piss boy". He manages to help Mademoiselle Rimbaud (Stephenson) save her father (Milligan) from prison. The film's final section, "Coming Attractions", is a fake trailer for the sequel to the film and includes "Hitler on Ice" and "Jews in Space".

The film was another modest financial hit, earning $31 million. The film received mixed critical reviews. Pauline Kael, who for years had been critical of Brooks, said "Either you get stuck thinking about the bad taste, or you let yourself laugh at the obscenity in the humor as you do Bunuel's perverse dirty jokes."

As part of the film's soundtrack, Brooks, then aged 55, recorded a rap entitled "It's Good to Be the King", a parody of Louis XVI and the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

; it was released as a single, and became a surprise US dance hit.

In 1983 Brooks produced and starred in (but did not write or direct) a remake of the classic 1942 Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch was a German-born film director. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch."In 1947 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his...

 film
To Be or Not to Be (1942 film)
To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. It was adapted by Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer from the story by Melchior Lengyel...

. To Be or Not to Be
To Be or Not to Be (1983 film)
To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 20th Century Fox comedy-drama film directed by Alan Johnson, produced by Mel Brooks with Howard Jeffrey as executive producer and Irene Walzer as associate producer. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior...

 was directed by Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson
Alan Arthur Johnson is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was...

 and starred Brooks, Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

, Charles Durning
Charles Durning
Charles Durning is an American actor. With appearances in over 100 films, Durning's memorable roles include police officers in the Oscar-winning The Sting and crime drama Dog Day Afternoon , along with the comedies Tootsie, To Be Or Not To Be and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the last two...

, Tim Matheson
Tim Matheson
Tim Matheson is an American actor, director and producer. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the smooth-talking Eric 'Otter' Stratton in the 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Animal House and has had a variety of other well-known roles, including providing the voice of the lead character...

, Jose Ferrer
José Ferrer
José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón , best known as José Ferrer, was a Puerto Rican actor, as well as a theater and film director...

 and Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Allen Lloyd is an American actor. He is best known for playing Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values, and Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He played Reverend Jim Ignatowski in the television series Taxi and more...

. The film was not a financial success, earning only $13 million.

The film spawned a highly controversial single that was featured as part of the film's soundtrack album (although not in the film itself) - "To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)". The song - satirizing German society in the 1940s with Brooks playing Hitler - was an unlikely hit, peaking at #12 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1984 and #3 on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report) that same year.

The second movie Brooks directed in the 1980s came in 1987 in the form of Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

, a parody of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, mainly Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

. The film starred Bill Pullman
Bill Pullman
William James "Bill" Pullman is an American film, television, and stage actor. Pullman made his film debut in the supporting role of Earl Mott in the 1986 film Ruthless People. He has since gone on to star in other films, including Spaceballs, Independence Day, Lost Highway, Casper and Scary Movie 4...

, John Candy
John Candy
John Franklin Candy was a Canadian actor and comedian. He rose to fame as a member of the Toronto branch of The Second City and its related Second City Television series, and through his appearances in comedy films such as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, and Uncle...

, Rick Moranis
Rick Moranis
Frederick Allan "Rick" Moranis is a Canadian comedian, actor, musician, and a magician. Moranis came to prominence in the late 1970s on the sketch comedy show Second City Television, and later appeared in several Hollywood films including Strange Brew; Ghostbusters; Spaceballs; Little Shop of...

, Daphne Zuniga
Daphne Zuniga
Daphne Eurydice Zuniga is an American actress known for her roles as Jo Reynolds on the Fox primetime soap Melrose Place, as Victoria Davis on The CW teen drama One Tree Hill and as Princess Vespa in Spaceballs.-Early life:...

, Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten
Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten is an American actor, best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the television sitcom Eight is Enough. He began work as a child actor and was successful on the [New York] stage, appearing in more than a dozen plays as a teenager...

, Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers is an American comedian, television personality and actress. She is known for her brash manner; her loud, raspy voice with a heavy New York accent; and her numerous cosmetic surgeries...

, Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

 and Brooks himself.

In the 1990s Brooks directed Life Stinks
Life Stinks
Life Stinks is a 1991 comedy-drama directed by and starring Mel Brooks. It is known as one of the few Mel Brooks comedies that is not a parody, nor at any time does the film break the fourth wall. It co-stars Lesley Ann Warren, Howard Morris and Jeffrey Tambor...

 in 1991, Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 French-American adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. Produced and directed by Mel Brooks, the film stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut...

 in 1993 and Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired....

 in 1995. Life Stinks was a financial and critical failure, but is notable as being the only film that Brooks directed that is neither a parody nor a film about other films or theater (The Twelve Chairs was a parody of the original novel).

Brooks also had a vocal role in the 2005 animated film Robots
Robots (film)
Robots is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios for 20th Century Fox, and was released theatrically on March 11, 2005. The story was created by Chris Wedge and William Joyce, a children's book author/illustrator. The two were trying to create a film version of...

. He then worked on an animated series sequel
Sequel
A sequel is a narrative, documental, or other work of literature, film, theatre, or music that continues the story of or expands upon issues presented in some previous work...

 to Spaceballs called Spaceballs: The TV Series, which premiered on September 21, 2008 on G4 TV.

Musicals

One of his most recent successes has been a transfer of his film The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

 to the Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 stage. The show broke the Tony record with 12 wins, a record that had previously been held for 37 years by Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955....

 at 10 wins. Such success has translated to a big-screen version of the Broadway adaptation/remake with actors Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick is an American film and stage actor who, among other roles, played the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adult Simba in The Lion King film series, and Leo Bloom in the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his...

 and Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane is an American actor of stage and screen. He is best known for his roles as Mendy in The Lisbon Traviata, Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to...

 reprising their stage roles, in addition to new cast members Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman
Uma Karuna Thurman is an American actress and model. She has performed in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action movies. Among her best-known roles are those in the Quentin Tarantino films Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill...

 and Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell
John William "Will" Ferrell is an American comedian, impressionist, actor, and writer. Ferrell first established himself in the late 1990s as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and has subsequently starred in the comedy films Old School, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega...

. As of early April 2006, Brooks had begun composing
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 the score to a Broadway musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein (musical)
Young Frankenstein, officially known as The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, is a musical with a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Brooks. It is based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name written by Brooks and Gene Wilder and directed by Brooks, who has...

, which he says is "perhaps the best movie [he] ever made." The world premiere was performed at Seattle's most historic theater (originally built as a movie palace), The Paramount Theater, between August 7, 2007, and September 1, 2007 after which it opened on Broadway at the former Foxwoods Theater (then the Hilton Theater), New York, on October 11, 2007. It has since earned mixed reviews from the critics.

Brooks joked about the concept of a musical adaptation of Blazing Saddles in the final number in Young Frankenstein, in which the full company sings, "next year, Blazing Saddles!" In 2010, Mel Brooks confirmed this, saying that the musical could be finished within a year. No creative team or plan has been announced.

Legacy

Brooks is one of the few artists who have received an Oscar
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

, Emmy
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

, Tony
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

, and Grammy
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

. He was awarded his first Grammy award for Best Spoken Comedy Album in 1999 for his recording of The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000 with Carl Reiner. His two other Grammys came in 2002 for Best Musical Show Album, for the soundtrack to The Producers, and for Best Long Form Music Video for the DVD "Recording the Producers - A Musical Romp with Mel Brooks". He won his first of four Emmy awards in 1967 for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety for a Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

 special. He went on to win three consecutive Emmys in 1997, 1998, and 1999 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role of Uncle Phil on Mad About You
Mad About You
Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992 to May 24, 1999. The show starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a newly married couple in New York City. Reiser played Paul Buchman, a documentary film maker. Hunt played Jamie Stemple Buchman, a public relations specialist...

. He won his three Tony awards in 2001 for his work on the musical, The Producers. He won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Original Musical Score, and Best Book of a Musical. Additionally, he won a Hugo Award
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

 and a Nebula Award
Nebula Award
The Nebula Award is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America , for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the previous year...

 for Young Frankenstein. 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's films are on the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's list of funniest American films
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs is a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. A wide variety of comedies were nominated for the distinction that included slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, satire, black comedy, musical comedy, comedy of...

: Blazing Saddles (#6), The Producers (#11), and Young Frankenstein (#13).

Brooks developed a repertory company of sorts for his film work: performers with three or more of Brooks' films (The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World: Part I, Spaceballs, Life Stinks, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It) to their credit include Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

, Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

, Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

, Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
Harvey Herschel Korman was an American comedic actor who performed in television and movie productions beginning in 1960...

, Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

, Ron Carey
Ron Carey (actor)
Ron Carey was an American film and television actor. The 5-foot 4-inch actor was best known for playing cocky Officer Carl Levitt on TV's Barney Miller, in which he was almost always surrounded by male actors who stood at least 4" taller...

, Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten
Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten is an American actor, best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the television sitcom Eight is Enough. He began work as a child actor and was successful on the [New York] stage, appearing in more than a dozen plays as a teenager...

 and Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas was a Greek actor and theater director. In the English-speaking world, he was best known for his roles in three Mel Brooks films, The Producers , The Twelve Chairs and History of the World, Part I .CareerAndreas Voutsinas was born in Khartoum, Sudan on 22 August 1932 by parents...

. Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

 appeared in six of Brooks's 11 original films, the only person with more appearances being Brooks himself.

Brooks and his wife Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

 acted together in Silent Movie and To Be or Not to Be, and Bancroft also had a bit part in the 1995 film Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired....

. Years later, the Brooks's appeared as themselves in the fourth season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO, which premiered on October 15, 2000. As of 2011, it has completed 80 episodes over eight seasons. The series was created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself...

, spoofing the finale of The Producers. It is reported that Bancroft encouraged Brooks (after an idea suggested by David Geffen) to take The Producers to Broadway where it became an enormous success.

In interviews broadcast on WABC radio, Brooks has discussed with NYC radio personality Mark Simone
Mark Simone
Mark Simone is an American radio personality. Currently heard on WABC in New York, he also fills-in for ABC Radio hosts such as Don Imus, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity.Simone occasionally appears on CNN, MSNBC and PBS....

 the possibilities of turning other works from his creative oeuvre (such as the movie Blazing Saddles) into future musical productions. Specifically, in a conversation airing March 1, 2008, he and Simone speculated on what show tunes might be incorporated into a theatrical adaptation of the Get Smart
Get Smart
Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre. Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show starred Don Adams , Barbara Feldon , and Edward Platt...

 property.

On December 5, 2009 Brooks was one of five recipients of 2009 Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

On April 23, 2010 Brooks was awarded the 2,406th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

.

Personal life

Brooks was married to Florence Baum from 1953 to 1962. Their marriage ended in divorce. Mel and Florence had three children, Stephanie, Nicky, and Eddie.

Brooks was married to the actress Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

 from 1964 until her death from uterine cancer on June 6, 2005. They met on rehearsal for the Perry Como
Perry Como
Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como was an American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for the RCA Victor label after signing with them in 1943. "Mr...

 Variety Show
Variety show
A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is an entertainment made up of a variety of acts, especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and normally introduced by a compère or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling...

 in 1961 and married three years later, August 5, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau
Manhattan Marriage Bureau
The Manhattan Marriage Bureau is a set of offices located in the Manhattan Municipal Building near City Hall in lower Manhattan. It is the site of more marriages than any other venue in the United States....

. Their son, Max Brooks
Max Brooks
Maximillian Michael "Max" Brooks is an American author and screenwriter, with a particular interest in zombies. Brooks is also a television and voice-over actor.- Early life and education :...

, was born in 1972. In 2010, Brooks credited Bancroft as being the guiding force behind his involvement in developing The Producers
The Producers (musical)
The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich...

 and Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein (musical)
Young Frankenstein, officially known as The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, is a musical with a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Brooks. It is based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name written by Brooks and Gene Wilder and directed by Brooks, who has...

 for the musical theater, citing an early meeting as "From that day, until her death on June 5, 2005, we were glued together."

Work

Writer/director

  • The Producers
    The Producers (1968 film)
    The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

     (1968) (Academy Award
    Academy Awards
    An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

    , best original screenplay)
  • The Twelve Chairs
    The Twelve Chairs (1970 film)
    The Twelve Chairs is a 1970 American slapstick comedy film directed by Mel Brooks, starring Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise and Ron Moody. The screenplay was written by Brooks. The film is loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov...

     (1970) (also actor)
  • Blazing Saddles
    Blazing Saddles
    Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

     (1974) (also actor)
  • Young Frankenstein
    Young Frankenstein
    Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

     (1974)
  • Silent Movie
    Silent Movie
    Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976...

     (1976) (also actor)
  • High Anxiety
    High Anxiety
    High Anxiety is a 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead. This is Brooks' first film as a producer and first "speaking" lead role...

     (1977) (also actor/producer)
  • History of the World, Part I
    History of the World, Part I
    History of the World, Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. Brooks also stars in the film, playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Tomás de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques, le garçon de pisse...

     (1981) (also actor/producer)
  • Spaceballs
    Spaceballs
    Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

     (1987) (also actor/producer)
  • Life Stinks
    Life Stinks
    Life Stinks is a 1991 comedy-drama directed by and starring Mel Brooks. It is known as one of the few Mel Brooks comedies that is not a parody, nor at any time does the film break the fourth wall. It co-stars Lesley Ann Warren, Howard Morris and Jeffrey Tambor...

     (1991) (also actor/producer)
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights
    Robin Hood: Men in Tights
    Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 French-American adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. Produced and directed by Mel Brooks, the film stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut...

     (1993) (also actor/producer)
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It
    Dracula: Dead and Loving It
    Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired....

     (1995) (also actor/producer)

Theatre

  • Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952
    New Faces of 1952
    New Faces of 1952 is a musical revue with songs and comedy skits. It ran on Broadway for nearly a year in 1952 and was then made into a motion picture in 1954...

     (1952) (sketches for a revue
    Revue
    A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th century American popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence of its own during its golden years from 1916 to 1932...

    )
  • Shinbone Alley
    Shinbone Alley
    Shinbone Alley is a musical with a book by Joe Darion and Mel Brooks, lyrics by Darion, and music by George Kleinsinger. Based on archy and mehitabel, a series of New York Tribune columns by Don Marquis, it focuses on poetic cockroach Archy, alley cat Mehitabel, and her relationships with...

     (1957) (co-book-writer)
  • All-American
    All-American (musical)
    All American is a musical with a book by Mel Brooks, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse.Based on the Robert Lewis Taylor novel Professor Fodorski, it is set on the campus of the fictional Southern Baptist Institute of Technology where the worlds of science and sports collide when the...

     (1962) (book-writer)
  • The Producers
    The Producers (musical)
    The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich...

     (2001) (composer, lyricist, co-book-writer, producer; Tony Award for Best Musical
    Tony Award for Best Musical
    This is a list of winners and nominations for the Tony Award for Best Musical, first awarded in 1949. This award is presented to the producers of the musical.-1940s:* 1949: Kiss Me, Kate – Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Samuel and Bella Spewack...

    , Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
    Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
    The Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical is awarded to librettists of the spoken, non-sung dialogue, and storyline of a musical play. Eligibility is restricted to works with original narrative framework; plotless revues and revivals are ineligible...

    , Tony Award for Best Original Score
    Tony Award for Best Original Score
    The Tony Award for Best Original Score is the Tony Award given to the composers and lyricists of the best original score written for a musical in that year. The score consists of music and lyrics...

    , Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics
    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics
    The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics is an annual award presented by the Drama Desk, a committee of New York City theatre critics, writers, and editors...

    , Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical
    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical
    The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical is presented by the Drama Desk, a committee which comprises New York City theatre critics, writers, and editors...

    )
  • Young Frankenstein
    Young Frankenstein (musical)
    Young Frankenstein, officially known as The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, is a musical with a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Brooks. It is based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name written by Brooks and Gene Wilder and directed by Brooks, who has...

     (2007) (composer, lyricist, co-book-writer, producer)

Other credits

  • Your Show of Shows
    Your Show of Shows
    Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that appeared weekly in the United States on NBC , from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca....

     (TV) (1950–1954) (writer)
  • New Faces of 1952
    New Faces of 1952
    New Faces of 1952 is a musical revue with songs and comedy skits. It ran on Broadway for nearly a year in 1952 and was then made into a motion picture in 1954...

     (Broadway) (1952) (writer) and "New Faces", the 1954 film version (writer)
  • The Critic
    The Critic (cartoon)
    The Critic is a 1963 short animation by director/producer Ernest Pintoff and creator/narrator Mel Brooks, that won an Academy Award for Short Subjects in 1963....

     (created and narrated, won Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film) (1963)
  • Get Smart
    Get Smart
    Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre. Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show starred Don Adams , Barbara Feldon , and Edward Platt...

     (TV) (1965–1970) (co-creator, writer)
  • The Electric Company
    The Electric Company
    The Electric Company is an educational American children's television series that was produced by the Children's Television Workshop for PBS in the United States. PBS broadcast 780 episodes over the course of its six seasons from October 25, 1971 to April 15, 1977...

     (TV) (1971–1977) (voice of recurring little cartoon man who asks: "Who's the dummy writing this show?!")
  • Hollywood Squares
    Hollywood Squares
    Hollywood Squares is an American panel game show in which two contestants play tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes. The "board" for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity seated at a desk and facing the contestants...

     (1972) (Guest star)
  • When Things Were Rotten
    When Things Were Rotten
    When Things Were Rotten was an American situation comedy television series created in 1975 by Mel Brooks and aired for half a season by ABC....

     (1975) (co-created, writer)
  • The Muppet Movie
    The Muppet Movie
    The Muppet Movie is the first of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Released in 1979, the film was produced by Henson Associates, Children's Television Workshop and ITC Entertainment....

     (1979) (Special Guest Star-Mad Scientist Professor Max Krassman)
  • The Elephant Man
    The Elephant Man (film)
    The Elephant Man is a 1980 American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick , a severely deformed man in 19th century London...

     (1980) (uncredited executive producer)
  • To Be or Not to Be
    To Be or Not to Be (1983 film)
    To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 20th Century Fox comedy-drama film directed by Alan Johnson, produced by Mel Brooks with Howard Jeffrey as executive producer and Irene Walzer as associate producer. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior...

     (1983) (actor, producer)
  • The Fly
    The Fly (1986 film)
    The Fly is a 1986 science fiction horror film co-written and directed by David Cronenberg. Produced by 20th Century Fox, and Brooksfilms, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. It is a remake of the 1958 film of the same name, but retains only the basic premise of a scientist...

     (1986) (uncredited producer)
  • The Fly II
    The Fly II
    The Fly II is a 1989 American science fiction horror film starring Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga. It was directed by Chris Walas as a sequel to the 1986 Academy Award-winning movie The Fly. Stoltz's character in this sequel is the adult son of Seth Brundle, the scientist-turned-'Brundlefly', played...

     (1989) (uncredited producer)
  • The Nutt House
    The Nutt House
    The Nutt House is a short-lived situation comedy that aired on NBC as part of its 1989 Fall lineup.-Overview:The Nutt House was the creation of executive producers Mel Brooks and Alan Spencer and was a broad farce about a once-prestigious New York City hotel which had of late fallen on hard times,...

     (1989) (co-creator)
  • The Tracey Ullman Show
    The Tracey Ullman Show
    The Tracey Ullman Show was an American television variety show, hosted by British comedian and onetime pop singer Tracey Ullman. It debuted on April 5, 1987 as the Fox network's second primetime series after Married... with Children, and ran until May 26, 1990. The show blended sketch comedy shorts...

     (1990) (actor-Buzz Schlanger)
  • Look Who's Talking Too
    Look Who's Talking Too
    Look Who's Talking Too is the 1990 sequel to the commercially successful movie Look Who's Talking . It stars John Travolta and Kirstie Alley as the parents of Mikey , a toddler coping with the newest addition to the family, baby Julie...

     (1990) (voice of Mr. Toilet Man)
  • Frasier
    Frasier
    Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, from September 16, 1993, to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee in association with Grammnet and Paramount Network Television.A spin-off of Cheers, Frasier stars...

     (1993) (voice of Tom)
  • The Little Rascals (1994) (actor-Mr. Welling)
  • Silence of the Hams (1994) (actor-Checkout Guest)
  • The Simpsons
    The Simpsons
    The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

     (1995, "Homer vs. Patty and Selma") (voice-himself)
  • Mad About You
    Mad About You
    Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992 to May 24, 1999. The show starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a newly married couple in New York City. Reiser played Paul Buchman, a documentary film maker. Hunt played Jamie Stemple Buchman, a public relations specialist...

     (TV) (1996–1999) (actor-Uncle Phil)
  • The Prince of Egypt
    The Prince of Egypt
    The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated musical drama film and the first traditionally animated film produced and released by DreamWorks Animation. The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the...

     (1998) (uncredited, additional voices)
  • Svitati (AKA Screw Loose) (1999) (actor-Jake Gordon)
  • It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
    It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
    It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is a 2002 television film that aired on NBC on November 29, 2002. The film is directed by Kirk Thatcher, written by Tom Martin and Jim Lewis and stars the Muppets and was filmed at Lionsgate Studios. The film revolves a plot similar to "It's A Wonderful...

     (2002) (voice of Joe Snow)
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: Season 2
    The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
    The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, often shortened to just Jimmy Neutron, is an American animated television series, and spin-off of the Academy Award-nominated computer-animated movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The series first officially aired on July 20, 2002, on Nickelodeon...

     (2003) (voice of Santa Claus)
  • Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
    Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
    Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks is a children's television series. The show is animated using computer-generated imagery and broadcast in the United States on PBS Kids from 2003–2008, currently WMBC, and Univision ; in Ireland on RTÉ Two, as part of The Den; in Australia on...

     (2003–2007) (voice of Wiley the Sheep)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 4
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO, which premiered on October 15, 2000. As of 2011, it has completed 80 episodes over eight seasons. The series was created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself...

     (2004) (actor)
  • Robots
    Robots (film)
    Robots is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios for 20th Century Fox, and was released theatrically on March 11, 2005. The story was created by Chris Wedge and William Joyce, a children's book author/illustrator. The two were trying to create a film version of...

     (2005) (voice of Bigweld)
  • The Producers
    The Producers (2005 film)
    # "Overture" - Orchestra# "Opening Night" - Opening Nighters# "We Can Do It" - Max and Leo# "I Wanna Be a Producer" - Leo, Accountants, Mr. Marks and Dancing Chorus Girls# "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop" - Franz, Max, and Leo...

     (2005) (writer, producer, cameo as himself)
  • Spaceballs: The Animated Series
    Spaceballs: The Animated Series
    Spaceballs: The Animated Series, also known as Spaceballs: The Series, is an animated television series that premiered in 2008 on G4 and Canada's Super Channel, and is loosely based on the parody science fiction film Spaceballs...

     (2008) (writer, producer, voice)
  • Get Smart
    Get Smart (film)
    Get Smart is a 2008 American spy-fi comedy film based on Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's 1960s spy parody television series of the same name. The film stars Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99...

     (2008) (Consultant)
  • The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History (2009) DVD
  • The Wizard of Oz (2012) (actor-The Wizard of Oz)

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Film All Critics Top Critics Audience
The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

 
93% 90% 82%
The Twelve Chairs
The Twelve Chairs (1970 film)
The Twelve Chairs is a 1970 American slapstick comedy film directed by Mel Brooks, starring Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise and Ron Moody. The screenplay was written by Brooks. The film is loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov...

 
92% N/A 62%
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

 
89% 80% 89%
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

 
94% N/A 91%
Silent Movie
Silent Movie
Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976...

 
89% N/A 65%
High Anxiety
High Anxiety
High Anxiety is a 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead. This is Brooks' first film as a producer and first "speaking" lead role...

 
74% N/A 66%
History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. Brooks also stars in the film, playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Tomás de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques, le garçon de pisse...

 
62% N/A 80%
Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

 
54% 33% 80%
Life Stinks
Life Stinks
Life Stinks is a 1991 comedy-drama directed by and starring Mel Brooks. It is known as one of the few Mel Brooks comedies that is not a parody, nor at any time does the film break the fourth wall. It co-stars Lesley Ann Warren, Howard Morris and Jeffrey Tambor...

 
20% N/A 44%
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 French-American adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. Produced and directed by Mel Brooks, the film stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut...

 
48% N/A 79%
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired....

 
09% 20% 52%
Average 66% 56% 72%

Collaborations

The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

Twelve Chairs
The Twelve Chairs (1970 film)
The Twelve Chairs is a 1970 American slapstick comedy film directed by Mel Brooks, starring Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise and Ron Moody. The screenplay was written by Brooks. The film is loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov...

Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

Silent Movie
Silent Movie
Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976...

High Anxiety
High Anxiety
High Anxiety is a 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead. This is Brooks' first film as a producer and first "speaking" lead role...

History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I
History of the World, Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. Brooks also stars in the film, playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Tomás de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques, le garçon de pisse...

Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

Life Stinks
Life Stinks
Life Stinks is a 1991 comedy-drama directed by and starring Mel Brooks. It is known as one of the few Mel Brooks comedies that is not a parody, nor at any time does the film break the fourth wall. It co-stars Lesley Ann Warren, Howard Morris and Jeffrey Tambor...

Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 French-American adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. Produced and directed by Mel Brooks, the film stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut...

Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired....

Carol Arthur
Carol Arthur
Carol Arthur is an American producer and film/television actress, mainly recognizable as playing supporting roles in films produced by Mel Brooks. She is probably best remembered as the outspoken town suffragette Harriett Johnson, in Brooks' Blazing Saddles...

Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft was an American actress associated with the Method acting school, which she had studied under Lee Strasberg....

Mark Blankfield
Mark Blankfield
Mark Blankfield — born May 8, 1950, in Pasadena, California — is a comedic actor who has starred or appeared in many movies and television shows. His work includes :* The starring role in Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again....

Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

Charlie Callas
Charlie Callas
Charlie Callas was an American comedian and actor most commonly known for his work with Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, and Dean Martin and his many stand-up appearances on television talk shows in the 1970s...

Ron Carey
Ron Carey (actor)
Ron Carey was an American film and television actor. The 5-foot 4-inch actor was best known for playing cocky Officer Carl Levitt on TV's Barney Miller, in which he was almost always surrounded by male actors who stood at least 4" taller...

Megan Cavanagh
Megan Cavanagh
Megan Cavanagh is an American actress who portrayed the roles of Marla Hooch in A League of Their Own , Broomhilde in Robin Hood: Men in Tights , Essie in Dracula: Dead and Loving It and was the voice of Judy Neutron in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Hilary Higgenbottom in The Mighty B!...

Ron Clark
Ron Clark (writer)
Ron Clark is an American playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for several plays that he co-wrote with Sam Bobrick and for co-writing the screenplays for the films Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Life Stinks with Mel Brooks.-Career:...

Dom DeLuise
Dom DeLuise
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death and the father of: actor, director, pianist, and writer Peter DeLuise; actor David DeLuise; and actor Michael DeLuise...

Liam Dunn
Liam Dunn
Liam Dunn was an American character actor.The New Jersey native's early career was spent toiling in television in series such as Bonanza, Room 222, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, and Gunsmoke....

Marty Feldman
Marty Feldman
Martin Alan "Marty" Feldman was an English comedy writer, comedian and actor who starred in a series of British television comedy shows, including At Last the 1948 Show, and Marty, which won two BAFTA awards and was the first Saturn Award winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Young...

Sandy Helberg
Sandy Helberg
Sandy Helberg is an American actor.Born in Frankfurt, Germany, grew up in Toledo, Ohio, he moved to New York where he studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Sandy did stand-up and was part of an improv group that worked clubs in Greenwich Village. He later moved to Los...

John Hurt
John Hurt
John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor, known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York...

Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was an American actress. Kahn was known primarily for her comedic roles in films such as Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, What's Up, Doc?, and Clue.-Early life:...

Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
Harvey Herschel Korman was an American comedic actor who performed in television and movie productions beginning in 1960...

Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson is an American screenwriter, film director, actor, and producer of film and television. His films include Good Morning, Vietnam, Sleepers and Rain Man.-Early life:...

Rudy De Luca
Rudy De Luca
Rudy De Luca is an American screenwriter and actor best known for his work with filmmaker Mel Brooks.-As Writer:*The Carol Burnett Show *The Tim Conway Show *The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine...

Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars was an American television, movie, and voice actor. He may be best-remembered for his roles in several Mel Brooks films: the insane Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in 1968's The Producers, and the relentless Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Fredrich Kemp in 1974's Young Frankenstein...

Howard Morris
Howard Morris
Howard Morris was an American comic actor and director who was best known for his role as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show.- Life and career :...

Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten
Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten is an American actor, best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the television sitcom Eight is Enough. He began work as a child actor and was successful on the [New York] stage, appearing in more than a dozen plays as a teenager...

Robert Ridgely
Robert Ridgely
Robert Ridgely was an American actor and vocal artist, known for both on-camera roles and extensive voice-over work.-Career:...

Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas
Andréas Voutsinas was a Greek actor and theater director. In the English-speaking world, he was best known for his roles in three Mel Brooks films, The Producers , The Twelve Chairs and History of the World, Part I .CareerAndreas Voutsinas was born in Khartoum, Sudan on 22 August 1932 by parents...

Albert Whitlock
Albert Whitlock
Albert J. Whitlock was a British-born motion picture matte artist best known for his work with Disney and Universal Studios.-Life and career:...

Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

Amy Yasbeck
Amy Yasbeck
Amy Marie Yasbeck is an American film and television actress. She is best known for her role as Casey Chapel Davenport on the sitcom Wings from 1994-1997.-Early life:...


Further reading

  • Parish, James Robert. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks (2007) Wiley ISBN 0-471-75267-3

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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