South O’ the Highway

Happy 90th Birthday, Mel Brooks

A very happy birthday to former Water Mill resident Mel Brooks, who turns 90 today!

Brooks, a showbiz icon, is known for his highly successful parodies of various film genres. He made his directorial debut in 1968 with the release of The Producers, a comedy about a has-been Broadway producer and his accountant who realize they can make more money on a Broadway flop than a Broadway hit. Their plan, of course, backfires when their intentionally offensive show Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden turns out to be a smash hit. Other films Brooks is known for include Blazing Saddles, a parody of spaghetti westerns; Young Frankenstein, a send-up of classic horror films from the 1930s; History of the World, Part I, which skewers movies like Clash of the Titans; Spaceballs, a Star Wars parody; and many more.

The Producers was later adapted into a highly successful Broadway musical starring Hamptonites Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and won 12 Tony Awards. The Producers ran on Broadway for six years and was so popular that Brooks adapted it into a musical film starring Lane and Broderick (it was directed by Susan Stroman). Brooks later produced a Broadway adaptation of Young Frankenstein, which ran for two years.

While he is primarily known for his comedy work, Brooks has also produced more serious movies under the Brooksfilms label. Brooksfilms produced David Lynch’s Academy Award-nominated drama The Elephant Man, as well as the 1986 horror film The Fly, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis

Brooks was married to actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005. He has three children from his first wife, Florence Baum, and one child with Bancroft.

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