Mel Brooks

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Mel Brooks
Brooks attending a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 23, 2010
Birth name Melvin James Kaminsky[1]
Born (1926-06-28) June 28, 1926 (age 98)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Medium Film, television, musical theatre
Years active 1949–present
Genres Farce, parody, musical comedy, satire, sketch comedy
  • Florence Baum
    (m. 1953; div. 1962)
  • Anne Bancroft
    (m. 1964; d. 2005)
Children 4; including Max
Military career
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service 1944–1946
Rank US Army WWII CPL.svg Corporal

Melvin James Brooks ( Kaminsky,[2] born June 28, 1926) is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, composer, and songwriter. He was married to Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005.

Brooks is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a comic and a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows. He became well known as part of the comedy duo with Carl Reiner in the comedy skit, The 2000 Year Old Man. He also created, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series, Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970.[3]

In middle age, he became one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s, with many of his films being among the top 10 money makers of the year they were released. His best-known films include The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. A musical adaptation of his first film, The Producers, ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2007.

In 2001 having previously won an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Oscar, he joined a small list of EGOT winners with his Tony award for The Producers. He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2013, and a British Film Institute Fellowship in March 2015. Three of his films ranked in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 comedy films of all-time, all of which ranked in the top 20 of the list: Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.[4]

Early life and education

Brooks was born Melvin James Kaminsky on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, to James and Kate (née Brookman) Kaminsky.[5] His father's family were Jews from Danzig, Germany (present-day Gdańsk, Poland); his mother's family were Jews from Kiev, in the Pale of Settlement of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine).[6] He had three older brothers: Irving, Lenny, and Bernie. Lenny's grandson Todd Kaminsky is a New York State Assemblyman for State District 20 on Long Island.[7][8] Brooks' father died of kidney disease at 34 when Brooks was two years old.[9] 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."[10]

Brooks was a small, sickly boy who often was bullied and picked on by his classmates.[11] He was taught by Buddy Rich (who had also grown up in Williamsburg) how to play the drums and started earning money at it when he was 14.[10] After attending Abraham Lincoln High School for a year, Brooks graduated from Eastern District High School[12] and then spent a year at Brooklyn College as a psychology major before being drafted into the army.[10] He attended the Army Specialized Training Program[13] conducted at the Virginia Military Institute[14] (although not actually as a VMI cadet), and served in the United States Army as a corporal in the 1104 Engineer Combat Battalion, 78th Infantry Division, defusing land mines[15] during World War II.


Early career and Your Show of Shows

After the war, Brooks started working in various Borscht Belt resorts and nightclubs in the Catskill Mountains as a drummer and pianist. Around this time, he changed his professional name to "Mel Brooks"[16] (from his mother's maiden name Brookman) after being confused with the well-known Borscht Belt trumpet player Max Kaminsky.[10] 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.[10] 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.[10][17]

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 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.[10] The show was an immediate hit and has been influential to all variety and sketch-comedy TV shows since. Reiner, as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, based Morey Amsterdam's character Buddy Sorell on Brooks. Likewise, the 1982 film My Favorite Year is loosely based on Brooks's experiences as a writer on the show and an encounter with aging Hollywood actor Errol Flynn. Neil Simon's 1993 play Laughter on the 23rd Floor 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 Larry Gelbart). Caesar's Hour ran from 1954 until 1957. In 1957, Brooks wrote the book for his first Broadway musical Shinbone Alley.[citation needed]

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 were not 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."[10] On one of these occasions, Reiner's suggestion was 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 would only perform the routine for friends, but by the late 1950s, it had gained a cult status 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."[10]

In 1960 Brooks moved from New York to Hollywood. Reiner and Brooks 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.[10] 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 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. "[18]

In 1962 Brooks wrote the Broadway musical All American. Brooks wrote the play with lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. The show starred 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, whose 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.

In 1963 Brooks was involved in the animated short film The Critic, a satire of arty, esoteric cinema, 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 film won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

In 1965 Brooks teamed up with comedy writer Buck Henry to create a comedic TV show 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."[19] The show that Brooks and Henry created was Get Smart, starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. This series ran from 1965 until 1970, although Brooks was not involved with its production after the pilot episode.[20] Get Smart was highly rated for most of its production and won seven Emmy Awards,[21] including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1968 and 1969.

Early career as a film director

For several years, Brooks had been toying with a bizarre and unconventional idea about a musical comedy of Adolf Hitler. Brooks explored the idea as a novel and a play before finally writing a script.[10] Eventually, he was able to find two producers to fund the show, Joseph E. Levine and Sidney Glazier, and made his first feature film, The Producers, in 1968. The film starred Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, and Lee Meredith, with music by John Morris.[citation needed]

The Producers was so brazen in its satire that major studios would not touch it, nor would many exhibitors. Brooks finally found an independent distributor who released it as an art film, a specialized attraction. In 1968, Brooks received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film, beating such writers as Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes. 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, which became hugely successful on Broadway, receiving an unprecedented twelve Tony awards.

With the moderate financial success of the film The Producers, Glazier financed Brooks's next film in 1970, The Twelve Chairs. Loosely based on a Russian 1928 novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov about greedy materialism in postrevolutionary Russia, the film stars Ron Moody, Frank Langella, and Dom DeLuise as three men individually searching for a fortune in diamonds hidden in a set of 12 antique chairs. Brooks makes a cameo appearance 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 financially successful.[10]

Success as a Hollywood director

Brooks then wrote an adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, but was unable to sell the idea to any studio and believed that his career was over. In 1972, Brooks met agent David Begelman, who helped him set up a deal with Warner Brothers to hire Brooks (as well as Richard Pryor, Andrew Bergman, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger) as a script doctor for an unproduced script called Tex-X. Eventually, Brooks was hired as director for what would become Blazing Saddles, his third film.[10]

Blazing Saddles starred Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn, Alex Karras, and Brooks himself, with cameos by Dom DeLuise and Count Basie. The film had music by Brooks and John Morris, and received a modest budget of $2.6 million. This film is a satire on the Western film genre and references older films such as Destry Rides Again, High Noon, Once Upon a Time in the West, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, as well as a surreal scene towards the end of the film referencing the extravagant musicals of Busby Berkeley.

Upon its release, Blazing Saddles was the second-highest US grossing film 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: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Madeline Kahn, Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Original Song. The film won the Writers Guild of America Award for "Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen"[22] and in 2006 it was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[22] 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 it's really the story of that heart being mended."[10]

When Gene Wilder replaced Gig Young 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 Frankenstein films.[23] After the filming of Blazing Saddles was completed, Wilder and Brooks began writing the script for Young Frankenstein and shot the film in the spring of 1974. It starred Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and Kenneth Mars with Gene Hackman in a memorable cameo role. Brooks likewise had a cameo role as the father of the little girl who befriended the monster. Composer John Morris again provided the music score and Universal Monsters film special effects veteran Kenneth Strickfaden worked on the film.

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 and Academy Award for Best Sound. It received some of the best reviews of Brooks's career and even critic Pauline Kael liked the film, saying: "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."[10]

In 1975, at the height of his movie career, Brooks tried TV again with When Things Were Rotten, a Robin Hood parody that lasted only 13 episodes. Nearly 20 years later, in response to the 1991 hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Brooks mounted another Robin Hood parody in 1993 with Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Brooks's film resurrected several pieces of dialogue 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 was written by Brooks and Ron Clark, starring Brooks in his first leading role, Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman, Sid Caesar, Bernadette Peters, and in cameo roles playing themselves: Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Liza Minnelli, Anne Bancroft, and ironically, Marcel Marceau, who uttered the film's only word of audible dialogue: "Non!"

Although not as successful as his previous two films, Silent Movie was a hit and grossed $36 million. Later that year, Brooks was named number 5 on a list of the Top Ten Box Office Stars.[10]

In 1977 Brooks made a parody of the films of Alfred Hitchcock in High Anxiety. The film was written by Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy De Luca, and Barry Levinson and was the first movie produced by Brooks himself. It starred Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman, Ron Carey, Howard Morris, and Dick Van Patten. The film satirizes such Hitchcock classic films as Vertigo, Spellbound, Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, Dial M for Murder, and Suspicion. Brooks stars as Professor Richard H. (for Harpo) Thorndyke, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist who also happens to suffer from "high anxiety".[10] The film was another modest hit for Brooks, earning $31 million and received mixed reviews.[citation needed]

Later film career

Brooks, circa February 1984

By 1980 Siskel and Ebert called Mel Brooks and Woody Allen "the two most successful comedy directors in the world today ... America's two funniest filmmakers."[24] That year, Brooks produced the dramatic film The Elephant Man (directed by David Lynch). 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 noncomedy films, including David Cronenberg's The Fly, Frances, and 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, along with comedies, including Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year, which was partially based on Mel Brooks's real life. Brooks sought to purchase the rights to 84 Charing Cross Road for his wife, Anne Bancroft, for many years. He successfully obtained the rights to the movie and presented them to her as an anniversary gift.[citation needed] He also produced the film the comedy. Fatso that Anne Bancroft directed.

In 1981 Brooks joked that the only genres that he had not spoofed were historical epics and Biblical spectacles.[10] History of the World Part I was a tongue-in-cheek look at human culture from the Dawn of Man to the French Revolution. The film was written, produced, and directed by Brooks with narration by Orson Welles. This film was another modest financial hit, earning $31 million. It received mixed critical reviews. Critic 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."[10] 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 cowritten by Pete Wingfield. It was released as a single and became a surprise dance hit in the United States.[citation needed]

In 1983 Brooks produced and starred in (but did not write or direct) a remake of the classic 1942 Ernst Lubitsch film. To Be or Not to Be was directed by Alan Johnson and starred Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Tim Matheson, Jose Ferrer, and Christopher Lloyd. The film was not a financial success, earning only $13 million, but garnered international publicity by featuring a controversial song on its soundtrack - "To Be Or Not To Be" (The Hitler Rap) - satirising German society in the 1940s with Brooks playing Hitler. Borrowing heavily musically from "It's Good to Be the King", it was still 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.[citation needed]

The second movie Brooks directed in the '80s came in 1987 in the form of Spaceballs, a parody of science fiction, mainly Star Wars. The film starred Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, Joan Rivers, Dom DeLuise, and Brooks. In 1989, Brooks (with coexecutive producer Alan Spencer) made another attempt at television success with the sitcom The Nutt House, which featured Brooks regulars Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman and was originally broadcast on NBC, but the network only aired five of the 11 episodes produced before canceling the series. In the 1990s, Brooks directed Life Stinks (1991), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995). People suggested, "anyone in a mood for a hearty laugh couldn't do better than Robin Hood: Men in Tights,[25] which gave fans a classic parody of Robin Hood.

Like Brooks's other films, it is filled with classic one-liners, and even the occasional breaking of the fourth wall. Robin Hood: Men in Tights was Brooks's second time exploring the life of Robin Hood, the first, as mentioned above, having been with his 1975 TV show, When Things Were Rotten. 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 actually a parody of the original novel.) In the 2000s, Brooks worked on an animated series sequel to Spaceballs called Spaceballs: The Animated Series, which premiered on September 21, 2008, on G4 TV. Brooks has also supplied vocal roles for animation. He voiced Bigweld the master inventor, in the 2005 animated film Robots, and had a cameo appearance as Albert Einstein, in the 2014 animated film Mr. Peabody & Sherman.[26] He returned, to voice Dracula's father, Vlad, in 2015's Hotel Transylvania 2.[27]


Brooks with wife Anne Bancroft at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival

One of his most recent successes has been the transference of his film The Producers to the Broadway stage. The show broke the Tony record with 12 wins, a record that had previously been held for 37 years by Hello, Dolly! at 10 wins. Such success translated to a big-screen version of the Broadway adaptation/remake with actors Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane reprising their stage roles, in addition to new cast members Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell in 2005. In early April 2006, Brooks began composing the score to a Broadway musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein, which he says is "perhaps the best movie [he] ever made. " The world premiere was performed at Seattle's 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 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.[28] He confirmed this again in 2011,[citation needed] on the HBO special "Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again".


Brooks in April 2010

Brooks is one of the few people who have received an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy. He was awarded his first Grammy 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 of 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 special and 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. Brooks won his Academy Award for Original Screenplay (Oscar) in 1968 for The Producers. He won his three Tony awards in 2001 for his work on the musical, The Producers for Best Musical, Best Original Musical Score, and Best Book of a Musical. Additionally, he won a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award 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's list of funniest American films: 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's 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, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Ron Carey, Dick Van Patten, and Andréas Voutsinas. DeLuise appeared in six of Brooks's 11 original films; the only person with more appearances was Brooks himself.

Brooks and his wife Anne Bancroft acted together in Silent Movie and To Be or Not to Be and Bancroft also had a bit part in Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Years later, the couple appeared as themselves in the fourth-season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, spoofing the finale of The Producers. Bancroft reportedly 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 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, Simone and he speculated on what show tunes might be incorporated into a theatrical adaptation of the Get Smart property.

On December 5, 2009, Brooks was one of five recipients of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.[29]

Brooks was awarded the 2,406th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 23, 2010.[30]

American Masters produced a biography on Brooks which premiered May 20, 2013, on PBS.[31]

The American Film Institute presented Brooks with its highest tribute, the AFI Life Achievement Award, in June 2013.[32]

In 2014 Brooks was honored in a handprint and footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre. His concrete handprints include a six-fingered left hand as he wore a prosthetic finger when making his prints.[33]

On March 20, 2015, Brooks was awarded a British Film Institute Fellowship from the British Film Institute. [34]

Personal life

Brooks with son Max in April 2010

Brooks was married to Florence Baum from 1951 to 1961, their marriage ending in divorce. They had three children: Stephanie, Nicky, and Eddie.[35]

Brooks married stage, film and television actress Anne Bancroft in 1964, and they remained together until her death in 2005. They had met at a rehearsal for the Perry Como Variety Show in 1961, and were married three years later on August 5, 1964, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. Their son, Max Brooks, was born in 1972, and their grandson, Henry Michael Brooks, was born in 2005.

In 2010 Brooks credited Bancroft with having been "the guiding force" behind his involvement in developing The Producers and Young Frankenstein for the musical theater, saying of an early meeting with her: "From that day, until her death ... we were glued together."[36]

Regarding religion, Brooks has said, "I'm rather secular. I'm basically Jewish. But I think I'm Jewish not because of the Jewish religion at all. I think it's the relationship with the people and the pride I have. The tribe surviving so many misfortunes, and being so brave and contributing so much knowledge to the world and showing courage."[37]


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Year Title Role Notes
1954 New Faces N/A Writer
1963 The Critic Narrator (voice) Short film
1968 The Producers Singer in 'Springtime for Hitler' (voice) Also director and writer
1970 The Twelve Chairs Tikon Also director and writer
1974 Blazing Saddles Governor William J. Lepetomane, Indian Chief Also director and writer
1974 Free to Be... You and Me Baby Boy (voice) TV movie
1974 Young Frankenstein Werewolf, Cat Hit by Dart, Victor Frankenstein (voice) Also director and writer
1975 The 2000 Year Old Man 2000 Year Old Man (voice) TV movie
1975 The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother Bruner (voice) Uncredited
1976 Silent Movie Mel Funn Also director and writer
1977 High Anxiety Richard H. Thorndyke Also director, producer, writer
1979 The Muppet Movie Professor Max Krassman
1981 History of the World, Part I Moses, Comicus, Tomas de Torquemada, Louis XVI of France, Jacques le Garçon de Pisse Also director, producer, writer
1983 To Be or Not to Be Frederick Bronski Also producer
1987 Spaceballs President Skroob, Yogurt Also director, producer, writer
1990 Look Who's Talking Too Mr. Toilet Man (voice)
1991 Life Stinks Goddard Bolt Also director, producer, writer
1992 Mickey's Audition Movie director Short film
1993 Robin Hood: Men in Tights Rabbi Tuckman Also director, producer, writer
1994 The Silence of the Hams Checkout Guest Uncredited
1994 The Little Rascals Mr. Welling
1995 Dracula: Dead and Loving It Dr. Abraham Van Helsing Also director, producer, writer
1998 The Prince of Egypt Additional voices Uncredited
1999 Screw Loose Jake Gordon
2000 Sex, Lies and Video Violence Stressed old man
2002 It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Joe Snow (voice) TV movie
2005 Robots Bigweld (voice)
2005 The Producers Hilda the Pigeon, Tom the Cat (voice) / Himself Also producer and writer
2008 Get Smart N/A Consultant
2010 Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show Sally Simon Simmons Narrator (voice)
2014 Mr. Peabody & Sherman Albert Einstein (voice)
2015 Underdogs The Preacher (voice) US version only
2015 Hotel Transylvania 2 Vlad (voice)
2016 Sausage Party Wallace (voice) Post-production
2017 Blazing Samurai Shogun Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1954–57 Caesar's Hour N/A 5 episodes
1961 The New Steve Allen Show 2000 Year Old Man 2 episodes
1965–70 Get Smart N/A 138 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer
1967 The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special Himself Special
1971–77 The Electric Company Blond-Haired Cartoon Man (voice) 780 episodes
1975 When Things Were Rotten N/A 13 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer
1983 An Audience with Mel Brooks Himself Special
1989 The Nutt House N/A 11 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer
1990 The Tracey Ullman Show Buzz Schlanger Episode: "Due Diligence"
1993 Frasier Tom (voice) Episode: "Miracle on Third or Fourth Street"
1995 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Homer vs. Patty and Selma"
1996–99 Mad About You Uncle Phil 4 episodes
2000 The Kids from Room 402 Mr. Miller (voice) Episode: "Squeezed Out"
2003 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Santa Claus (voice) Episode: "Holly Jolly Jimmy"
2003–07 Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks Wiley the Sheep (voice) 47 episodes
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself 4 episodes
2008–09 Spaceballs: The Animated Series President Skroob, Yogurt (voice) 13 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer
2010 Glenn Martin, DDS Canine (voice) Episode: "A Very Martin Christmas"
2011 Special Agent Oso Grandpa Mel (voice) Episode: "On Old MacDonald's Special Song/Snapfingers"
2011 The Paul Reiser Show The Angry Cat (voice) Episode: "The Playdate"
2011 Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again Himself Special
2012 Mel Brooks Strikes Back Himself Special
2014 Dora the Explorer Mad Hatter (voice) Episode: "Dora in Wonderland"
2015 Mel Brooks: Live at the Geffen Himself Stand-up special
2015 The Comedians Himself Episode: "Celebrity Guest"


Year Title Notes
1952 New Faces of 1952 Writer
1957 Shinbone Alley Writer
1962 All-American Writer
2001 The Producers Composer, lyricist, writer, producer
2007 Young Frankenstein Composer, lyricist, writer, producer


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  25. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  26. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  27. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  28. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  29. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  30. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  31. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  32. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  33. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  34. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  35. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  36. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  37. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

Further reading

External links

Script error: The function "top" does not exist.

Script error: The function "bottom" does not exist.