Mel Brooks celebrated this week his 90th birthday. He was born on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 18, he searched for landmines in North Africa during World War II. Now, he is one of the very few people who ever won an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscars, Tony Awards). Actually he needs one more Oscar to win a double EGOT.
Mel Brooks – Short Biography
He is the son of James and Kate (née Brookman) Kaminsky, Jews from Danzig (Gdansk, Poland) – the father’s family and Kiev (Ukraine) – the mother’s side. His real name is Melvin James Kaminsky. He changed his name in the professional “Mel Brooks” because he was often confused with Max Kaminsky, a musician. He is best known for his film farces and parodies. But before all those, he started to play drums when he was 14, in order to make some money.
In 1944 he went to war, where he served as a corporal. When he came back, he started to wrote for TV comedies. He also did stand-up comedy and celebrities impersonations. In 1962 he wrote a Broadway musical. In ’64 he married for the second time, but this time with Anne Bancroft, the love of his life. He met her at a talk-show, and after being smitten by her beauty and wit, he found out where she was to dine that evening, so he “accidentally” run into her again. They stayed together until her tragic death in 2005.
He was obsessed by a comical idea about Adolf Hitler, so, in 1968 he wrote The Producers. He needed money to put up the movie and he found Joseph E. Levine and Sidney Glazier as producers. With the moderate amount of money they initially made with it, The Twelve Chairs was produced, a movie featuring Ron Moody, a very young Frank Langella, and Dom DeLuise, based on the homonym novel by Ilf and Petrov. This one was a flop, mainly because it wasn’t a good time to play with those subjects.
Eventually he met an agent who helped Brooks to cut a deal with Warner Brothers, so he was hired to direct Blazing Saddles, a smashing success. Young Frankenstein came in the same year, 1974, and it was a huge hit. Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler wrote a song inspired by Igor’s “Walk This Way”. It is also one of the movies where Mel Brooks doesn’t appear even in a cameo. He made the werewolf’s sound with his own voice.
Some More Movies
Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), History of the World: Part I (1981), Spaceballs (1987), Life Stinks (1991), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) are the next movies he directed.
Here is a rap he wrote, based on the already famous expression he launched in History of the World – Part 1, “It’s good to be the King!”
As you see, in this post I have inserted the story of “Pepto” from Life Stinks, with three screenshots.
Here’s a fragment from Life Stinks, the movie where he was given the nickname “Pepto”.
In 2005, he was the voice of “Hilda the Pigeon” and “Tom the Cat” in The Producers‘ remake made with his screenplay. He is a Cancer, a sign that has “funny” as a keynote. See Will Ferrell.
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