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Mel Brooks Biographical Timeline

Mel Brooks Production Photo


1926 – Born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York to Maximilian and Kate Kaminsky on June 28.


1940 – Mel spends his first summer working/entertaining in the Catskills.
1946 – Mel works for theatrical producer Benjamin Kutcher. Later inspires Max Bialystock in The Producers.
1946-to-1949 – Works in various capacities (drummer, pianist, performer and comic) in Borscht Belt resorts and nightclubs. Eventually becoming Tummler (master entertainer) at Grossinger’s.
1949 – Sid Caesar hires Brooks to write jokes for Admiral Broadway Revue.


Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks

1950-to-1954 – Worked as a writer for Sid’s Your Show of Shows.
1952 – Mel writes “Of Fathers and Sons” sketch for hopeful Broadway revue Curtain Going Up. Eventually ends up airing on New Faces of 1952.
1954-to-1957 – Works as a writer for Imogene Coca’s revue and also Caesar’s Hour.
1957 – Writes Shinbone Alley with Joe Darion.


1960 – Mel arrives in Los Angeles and begins scriptwriting duties on The Ladies’ Man starring Jerry Lewis
1960 – Brooks and Carl Reiner begin performing 2000 Year Old Man on the Steve Allen Show.
19612000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks sells over a million albums.
1962 – Writes All American. Despite receiving two Tony Award Nominations, the script and production were chaotic and the show had a poor Broadway run. At the same time Mel began working on a novel entitled Springtime for Hitler.
1962 – Records series of commercials for Ballantine Beer with Dick Cavett as the “2,500 Year Old Man.”
1963 – Conceives idea and narrates short film The Critic. Wins Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
1963 – Mel writes 30 min TV Comedy entitled “Inside Danny Baker” directed by Arthur Hiller.
1965 – Creates Get Smart with Buck Henry. Brooks uninvolved with production after pilot but series ran until 1970 and won seven Emmy Awards, including outstanding comedy series in 1968 and 1969.
1967 – Wins first Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety for a Sid Caesar special.
1968 – Brooks writes and directs The Producers. Wins the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.


1970 – Brooks writes and directs Twelve Chairs based on Russian novel by Ilf and Petrov.
1972 – Brooks is hired by Warner Bros. along with Richard Pryor, Andrew Bergman, Norman Steinberg and Al Uger as a script doctor for unproduced western comedy calle Tex-X. Eventually hired as director for what would become…
1974Blazing Saddles released. Earns $119.5 million worldwide, despite modest budget of $2.6 million. Nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Madeline Kahn), Best Film Editing and Best Original Song. Wins WGA Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.
1974 – Directs Young Frankenstein, co-written with Gene Wilder. Earns $86 million worldwide. Receives two Academy Awards nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.
1975 – Brooks creates When Things Were Rotten. A Robin Hood parody TV series that lasts only 13 episodes.
1976 – Silent Movie released. Directed by Brooks, co-written by Brooks and Ron Clark. Earns $36 million at the box office.
1977High Anxiety released. Directed by Brooks, co-written by Brooks, Clark, Rudy De Luca and Barry Levinson. First movie produced by Brooks himself. Earns $31 million at the box office.


1980 – Brooks produces Fatso written and directed by wife Anne Bancroft. First picture produced by Brooksfilms.
1980 – Brooks produces The Elephant Man and hires David Lynch to direct.
1981 – Brooks writes, produces, directs and stars in History of the World Part I. Earns $31 million at the box office.
1982 – Brooks produces My Favorite Year and hires Richard Benjamin to direct.
1982 – Brooks produces Frances.
1983 – Brooks stars alongside Anne Bancroft in To Be or Not to Be directed by Alan Johnson. Earns only $13 million at box office. “To Be Or Not To Be” (The Hitler Rap) from the film’s soundtrack was performed by Brooks and peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart in Feb ’84 and #3 on the Australian Singles Chart
1986 – Brooks produces The Fly. Hires David Cronenberg to direct.
1987 – Brooks writes and directs Spaceballs.
1989 – Brooks creates The Nutt House TV series with co-executive producer Alan Spencer. Series features Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman and is originally broadcast on NBC. Eleven episodes were recorded but the network aired only six before cancelling the show.


1991 – Brooks writes and directs Life Stinks. Only film that Brooks directed that is neither a parody or satire on a particular work or genre. Also the last time Brooks played the leading role.
1993 – Brooks writes and directs Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Gene Siskel put the film in his “Worst of 1993” list and said Brooks had “clearly lost his way” in comedy.
1995 – Brooks writes and directs Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
1997-to-1999 – Wins three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Uncle Phil in Mad About You.
1999 – Awarded Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album with Carl Reiner for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000.

2000s —

2001 – Adapts The Producers into a Broadway Musical. Show breaks all records by taking home twelve Tony Awards. Three went to Mel personally for Best Musical, Best Original Musical Score and Best Book of a Musical.
2005 – Brooks adapts The Producers musical to big-screen adding cast members Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman.
2007 – Brooks adapts Young Frankenstein into a broadway musical. After test runs in Seattle, it opens on Broadway on Nov. 8 to mixed reviews. Closes in Jan. 2009 after 484 performances.
2007 – Brooks creates Spaceballs: The Animated Series. The show runs for only 15 episodes and ends in 2009.
2009 – Brooks is one of five recipients of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors presented by President Barack Obama.
2013 – The American Film Institute presents Brooks with the AFI Life Achievement Award.



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