Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor, is in an elite group as one of the few entertainers to earn all four major entertainment prizes – a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Oscar. His career began in television writing for Your Show of Shows and together with Buck Henry creating the long-running TV series Get Smart. He then teamed up with Carl Reiner to write and perform the Grammy-winning 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and books.
Brooks won his first Oscar in 1964 for writing and narrating the animated short The Critic (1963) and his second in 1969 for the screenplay of his first feature film, The Producers (1968). Many hit comedy films followed including The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), History of the World Part I (1981), To Be or Not to Be (1983), Spaceballs (1987), Life Stinks (1991), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995).
Brooks’ production company, Brooksfilms Limited, founded in 1980, has produced critically acclaimed films outside of his usual comedy genre. Among them are: David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980), starring John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, with Hurt receiving one of the film’s eight Oscar nominations; David Cronenberg’s memorable hit The Fly (1986), starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis; Frances (1982), in which Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley were Oscar nominated; Richard Benjamin’s My Favorite Year (1982), which earned Peter O’Toole an Oscar nomination; and 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) in which Anne Bancroft won the British Academy Award for her performance opposite Anthony Hopkins.
For three successive seasons, 1997 through 1999, Mel Brooks won Emmy Awards for his role as Uncle Phil on the hit sitcom Mad About You. His recent TV specials – Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again (HBO 2011), Mel Brooks Strikes Back! (HBO 2012), American Masters Presents Mel Brooks: Make A Noise (PBS 2013), AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks (TNT/TCM 2013) and Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen (HBO 2015) have all been Emmy nominated.
Brooks received three 2001 Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards for The Producers: The New Mel Brooks Musical, which ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2007. With twelve awards total, The Producers still holds the all-time record for the most Tony Awards ever won by a Broadway musical. He followed that success with The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, which ran on Broadway from 2007 to 2009, and both musicals continue to be performed and enjoyed by audiences all over the world.
In 2009 President Barack Obama presented Mel Brooks with the Kennedy Center Honors, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to American culture. The American Film Institute honored him in 2013 with the AFI Life Achievement Award, recognizing talents that fundamentally advance the art of film. In 2015 Mel Brooks became one of only 30 foreigners that The British Film Institute has awarded the prestigious BFI Fellowship for outstanding contributions to film and television. And in 2016 Mr. Brooks was invited back to the White House once again where President Obama presented him with The National Medal of Arts – the highest award given to artists by the United States government.