Height of Mel Brooks
The height of Mel Brooks is …m.
1. Where did Mel Brooks come from ?
Melvin Kaminsky (he is born in June 28, 1926), known professionally as Mel Brooks, is an American director, writer, actor, comedian, producer and composer. He is known as a creator of broad movie farces and comedic parodies. Brooks began his career as a comic and a writer for Sid Caesar’s variety show Your Show of Shows (1950–1954) alongside Woody Allen, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. Together with Carl Reiner, he created the comic character The 2000 Year Old Man. He wrote, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970.
2. What could we know about Mel Brooks besides his height ?
In middle age, Brooks became one of the most successful movie directors of the 1970s, with many of his movies being among the top 10 moneymakers of the year they were released. His best-known movies include The Producers (1968), The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), History of the World, Part I (1981), Spaceballs (1987), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). A musical adaptation of his first movie, The Producers, ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2007, and was remade into a musical movie in 2005 by Brooks himself.
3. What are the projects of Mel Brooks ?
In 2001, having previously won an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar, he joined a small list of EGOT winners with his Tony Award wins for The Producers. He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2010, the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2013, a British Film Institute Fellowship in March 2015, a National Medal of Arts in September 2016, and a BAFTA Fellowship in February 2017. Three of his movies ranked in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 comedy movies of the past 100 years (1900–2000), all of which ranked in the top 15 of the list: Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.
4. Somme collaborations with Mel Brooks ?
Brooks was married to the actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005. Their son Max Brooks is an actor and author, known for his novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006).
Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, to Max (1895–1929) and Kate (née Brookman) Kaminsky (1896–1989), and grew up in Williamsburg. His father’s family were German Jews from Danzig (present-day Gdańsk, Poland); his mother’s family were Jews from Kiev, in the Pale of Settlement of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine). He had three older brothers: Irving, Lenny, and Bernie. Brooks’ father died of kidney disease at 34 when Brooks was 2 years old. He has said of his father’s death, “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 often was bullied and teased by his classmates because of his size. He grew up in tenement housing. At age 9, Brooks went to a Broadway show with his uncle Joe—a taxi driver who drove the Broadway doormen back to Brooklyn for free and was given the tickets in gratitude—and saw Anything Goes with William Gaxton, Ethel Merman and Victor Moore at the Alvin Theater. After the show, he told his uncle that he was not going to work in the garment district like everyone else but was absolutely going into show business.
When Brooks was 14 he gained employment as a pool tummler. Brooks kept his guests amused with his crazy antics. In a Playboy interview Brooks explained that one day he stood at the edge of a diving board wearing a large overcoat and 2 suitcases full of rocks who then announced: “Business is terrible! I can’t go on!” before jumping, fully clothed into the pool. He was taught by Buddy Rich (who had also grown up in Williamsburg) how to play the drums and started to earn money as a musician when he was 14. During Brooks’ time as a drummer he was given his first opportunity as a comedian at the age of 16 following an ill MC. During his teens, Melvyn Kaminsky officially changed his name to Mel Brooks, influenced by his mother’s maiden name Brookman, after being confused with the trumpeter Max Kaminsky.
Brooks graduated from Eastern District High School. He also studied psychology at Brooklyn College for one year.
Brooks was drafted into the United States Army in 1944. After scoring highly on the Army General Classification Test—a Stanford–Binet-type IQ test—he was sent to the elite Army Specialized Training Program at the Virginia Military Institute to be taught skills such as military engineering, foreign languages, or medicine.
Manpower shortages led the Army to disband the training program so Brooks returned to basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in May 1944.
After the war, Brooks started working in various Borscht Belt resorts and nightclubs in the Catskill Mountains as a drummer and pianist. 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 Red Bank, 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, one of the Borscht Belt’s most famous resorts. Brooks found more rewarding work behind the scenes, becoming a comedy writer for television. In 1949, his friend Sid Caesar hired Brooks to write jokes for the DuMont/NBC series The Admiral Broadway Revue, paying him $50 a week.
In 1950, Caesar created the revolutionary variety comedy series Your Show of Shows and hired Brooks as a writer along with Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, and head writer Mel Tolkin. The writing staff proved widely influential. Reiner, as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, based Morey Amsterdam’s character Buddy Sorell on Brooks. Likewise, the movie My Favorite Year (1982) is loosely based on Brooks’ experiences as a writer on the show including an encounter with the actor Errol Flynn. Neil Simon’s play Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1993) is also loosely based on the production of the show, and the character Ira Stone is based on Brooks. Your Show of Shows ended in 1954 when performer Imogene Coca left to host her own show. Caesar then created Caesar’s Hour with most of the same cast and writers (including Brooks and adding Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart). Caesar’s Hour ran from 1954 until 1957.
Brooks and co-writer Reiner had become close friends and began to casually improvise comedy routines when they were not working. Reiner played the straight-man interviewer and 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 concerned a 2000 year-old-man 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 only performed the routine for friends but, by the late 1950s, it gained a reputation in New York City. Kenneth Tynan 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. At one point, when Brooks had financial and career struggles, the record sales from the 2000 Year Old Man were his chief source of income.
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 in a series of ads, the Brewmaster (in a German accent, as opposed to the 2000 Year Old Man’s Yiddish accent) said he was inside the original Trojan horse and “could’ve used a six-pack of fresh air.”
Brooks was involved in the creation of the Broadway musical All American which started on Broadway in 1962. Brooks wrote the play with lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. The show acted Ray Bolger 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, 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 nominations.
The animated short movie The Critic (1963), a satire of arty, esoteric cinema, was conceived by Brooks and directed by Ernest Pintoff. Brooks supplied running commentary as the baffled moviegoer trying to make sense of the obscure visuals. The short movie won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
With comedy writer Buck Henry, Brooks created a comedic TV show titled Get Smart about a bumbling James Bond-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 stars Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. The series ran from 1965 until 1970, although Brooks had little involvement after the first season. Get Smart was highly rated for most of its production and won seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1968 and 1969.
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