One look at Mel Brooks’s portfolio will make anyone dizzy. The entertainment veteran has fulfilled a plethora of responsibilities since the early 1950s. Mel is an infamous director, producer, actor, screenwriter, comedian, composer, and lyricist.
Besides all of that, Mel is also an army veteran and a former musician and instrumentalist. Some of his earliest works include writing for the comedy series Your Show of Shows. As a director, he is known for working on projects such as Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Blazing Saddles. Mel has also written and produced many Broadway musicals and non-comedy films under his own production label Brooksfilms.
He is the recipient of an AFI Life Achievement Award and also received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. Read on to find out more about the entertainment veteran.
Mel Brooks’s Bio, Age
The multi-faceted entertainer was born Melvin James Kaminsky, on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Kate and James Kaminsky. Owing to their heritage, Mel was raised in a Jewish household along with his three older brothers Lenny, Irving, and Bernie. The family suffered tragedy when their father James died from kidney disease. Mel was just two years old at the time.
For his high school education, he attended Abraham Lincoln High School. He was only there for a year before he transferred to Eastern District High School, and subsequently Brooklyn College, graduating with a degree in psychology.
By the time he was 14, he worked as a pool tummler and was taught to play the drums by American jazz drummer Buddy Rich. He got his first start as a comedian two years later, at the age of 16.
After acing the Army General Classification Test, he gained entry into the Army Specialized Training Program. Mel Brooks served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II from. He joined the army in 1944 and was discharged in 1946.
After his time with the army, he took up work as a musician at resorts and nightclubs located in the Catskill Mountains. During this period, he also became a regular stand up comedian around the same locations.
His first television gig came in 1949 when he was brought on to write develop jokes and one-liners for NBC’s The Admiral Broadway Revue. He was hired to do this by his friend Sid Ceasar and was paid $50 a week. The following year, Sid again hired Mel to co-write for his new comedy series titled Your Show of Shows. The series was a massive success and ran throughout the early 1950s.
Mel also teamed up with his co-writers from Your Show of Shows to write for Ceasar’s Hour from 1954 to 1957. He then wrote his first Broadway musical titled Shinbone Alley. Towards the end of the 1950s, Mel Brooks teamed up with former co-writer Carl Reiner to develop their own show 2000 Year Old Man. It grew into a cult success in New York. Mel Brooks and Reiner expanded the show and soon it made its way to Hollywood and became a mainstay on The Steve Allen Show.
Throughout the 1960s, Brooks’s writing saw him for Broadway musicals, animated shorts, and television series. For his writing on All American, The Critic, and Get Smart, he won two Tony Awards, an Oscar, and & Emmy Awards.
In 1968, Mel made his directorial debut with the film The Producers. The movie was a massive success, winning an Oscar and subsequently 12 Tonys for its musical adaptation. Four years later, the writer cum director penned a contract with Warner Brothers to re-write the script for Blazing Saddles. By the end of the year, the movie had earned the second-highest gross earnings in the industry for that year.
In 1974, he directed Young Frankenstein and had on actors like Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, and Marty Feldman on set. The movie was nominated for 2 Oscars and was the third-highest gross earner for the year. Throughout the 1970s, he continued to write and direct for different projects such as When Things Were Rotten, Silent Movie, and High Anxiety.
For someone who was known as a comedian for much of his career at this time, Mel Brooks went the unexpected route when he started Brooksfilms, a production company dedicated to developing only non-comedy content. Under Brooksfilms, he produced The Elephant Man, History of the World Part I, and To Be or Not To Be. For the latter, he also played the role of Hitler.
In the 1990s, Mel Brooks worked on projects like Life Stinks, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, all directorial efforts.
In the 2000s, he started to appear on television shows like Mad About You, The Simpsons, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. More recently, he has done a lot of voicing or animated projects like Dora the Explorer, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, The Guardian Brothers, Toy Story 4, and The Hotel Transylvania franchise.
Mel Brooks’s Family: Wife and Son
On the family front, Mel has been married twice, with both unions producing a total of four children. First, he was married to Florence Baum in 1953. The couple had three children together, a daughter Stephanie, and two sons, Nicky and Eddie. The marriage ended after almost a decade together.
By this time, he had already met actress Anne Bancroft who would become his second wife in 1964. The two met when they were both attending a rehearsal for the Perry Como Variety Show. They tied the know on August 5, 1964. They had a son, Max Brooks, who is also an actor like Mel and an author. Mel and Anne stayed married until she died in 2005.
Is he Still Alive?
During his active career, the actor-producer-director appeared in well over 150 projects. In recent history, however, he has not been as visible on the screen, which is to be expected of someone well into the twilight years of his career and life in general.
The veteran has chosen instead to focus more on doing voicing roles such as Vlad the Vampire in Hotel Transylvania. Even though his last directed work was Dracula: Dead and Loving It in 1995, he has announced his latest production work, a movie titled Blazing Samurai (2021).
What is his Height?
Mel Brook’s massive career success is not reflected in his physical build. The veteran movie man remembers being bullied a lot by other boys while he was in school due to his small frame. The bullying was part of the reason he transferred to another high school. Thankfully, this did not stop him from having a wonderful career.
Brooks stands at a height of 5 feet 5 inches, which translates to 165 cm.
What is his Net Worth?
Mel Brooks is a very decorated producer, director, and actor. Throughout his career, he starred in a slew of critically acclaimed movies and television series. Mel also won everything including Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Emmy Awards. Not to mention his lifetime achievement award and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The New York native also has his own production company and has produced over ten movies so far. Understandably, many sources online peg his net worth at $85 million.