1927–, American film director, writer, actor, and producer, b. Brooklyn, NY as Melvin Kaminsky. His earliest work was in television, notably as a gag writer for Sid Caesar
's “Your Show of Shows” (1950–54). He also scored a hit with a 1964 comedy recording, in which he played an irascible, Yiddish-accented 2,000-year-old man. Turning to film, he wrote and directed The Producers
(1968), a comic masterpiece of uproarious bad taste. His other hit comedies are usually wild parodies that mix satire with slapstick; they include Blazing Saddles
(1974), a spoof of Western movies; Young Frankenstein
(1975), a Brooksian take on the horror genre, and High Anxiety
(1977), a comic version of Hitchcock
's spine-tinglers. Among his later movies, which have been less successful with the public, are To Be or Not To Be
(1983), Life Stinks
(1991), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights
(1993). Brooks turned to the stage in 2001, adapting his first film hit, The Producers,
into a smash hit, Tony-winning Broadway musical (film, 2005). Brooks has Emmies, Grammies, Tonies, and an Oscar among his many awards and honors.
See his autobiography (2021); biographies by J. R. Parish (2007) and P. McGilligan (2019); N. Smurthwaite and P. Gelder, Mel Brooks and the Spoof Movie (1982); M. Yakowar, In Method Madness: The Comic Art of Mel Brooks (1982); N. Sinyard, The Films of Mel Brooks (1987).