Today, writer, director, comedian and all-around entertainment legend Mel Brooks turns 92 (impressive, but not as much as a 2000 Year Old Man). As a child in Brooklyn, he fell in love with the movies and live theater. He grew up to be one of only 12 people to earn an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards). For this Throwback Thursday, let's celebrate with a look back at Mel Brooks' career.
After getting his start in the Catskills, Brooks became part of the writing team for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour. Your Show of Shows influenced sketch comedy and sitcom writers for generations to come.
Brooks' legendary status really took hold in 1967 when he made a very unconventional musical comedy about Nazis, The Producers. The Producers won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and was later turned into a smash Broadway musical of the same name.
Some of Brooks' best-known films are classics spoofs and satire like Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Both demonstrate a love for classic cinema (westerns and horror, respectively) while making you laugh till you cry.
With High Anxiety, Brooks approached Alfred Hitchcock hoping to gain his blessing for a suspense spoof, but Hitchcock was such a fan, he ended up helping him write the film.
While some of his later films have not been as well-received, Brooks continues to bring his distinctive voice, storytelling skills and comedic timing to a variety of projects. He's even voiced Vlad, the vampire grandpa, in the Hotel Transylvania movies.
If you'd like to learn more about Brooks' life or more about his place in comedy history, check out the documentary American Masters: Mel Brooks Makes a Noise or read Kliph Nesteroff's The Comedians, a wonderful and well-researched history of American comedy.
Do you have a favorite Mel Brooks movie moment? Let us know in the comments!