Mel Brooks (born June 28, 1926) is an Academy Award-winning American actor, writer, director, and producer best known as a creator of broad film farces and comedy parodies, or as he says, "spoofs."
Born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York to Russian-Jewish parents Maximillian Kaminsky and Kate "Kittie" Brookman. Brooks's grandfather, Abraham Kominsky, was a herring dealer who immigrated in 1893. He and his wife Bertha raised their ten children on Henry St. on the Lower East Side in New York City. Brooks's father, Max, was their second child.
When Brooks was only two and a half years old, his father died of a kidney disease at age 34. A year later, in 1930, Kittie Kaminsky and her sons Irving, Leonard, Bernard and Melvin were living at 365 S. 3rd St. in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
Brooks graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School before serving in the US Army during World War II as an engineer, stationed in North Africa.
He started out in show business as a stand-up comic before becoming a comedy writer for television, working on Your Show of Shows. In 1961, with Carl Reiner, he created the persona of the 2000 Year Old Man, a collection of ad libbed comedy routines made into a series of comedy records. With Buck Henry, he created the successful TV series Get Smart. In 1975, Brooks created When Things Were Rotten, a well-received Robin Hood parody that lasted only 13 episodes; nearly 20 years later, Brooks mounted another Robin Hood parody with Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
He later moved into film, working as an actor, director, writer and producer. Among his most popular films have been Young Frankenstein (co-written with Gene Wilder) and Blazing Saddles (co-written with Richard Pryor), both of which were released in 1974. Brooks developed a repertory company of sorts for his film work: performers with three or more Brooks films to their credit include Gene Wilder, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Ron Carey, Andréas Voutsinas and, of course, Brooks himself. Dom Deluise has appeared in six of Mel's 12 films; only one person has more appearances than Deluise and that is Brooks himself.
In 1980 Brooks became interested in producing the film "The Elephant Man" directed by David Lynch. Knowing that anyone seeing the poster with "Mel Brooks presents The Elephant Man" would go along expecting a comedy, he set up the company Brooksfilm to produce the film. Brooksfilm has since produced a number of non-comedy films, including David Cronenberg's The Fly, Frances, and 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, as well as comedies, including Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year.
Brooks' most recent success has been a transfer of his film The Producers to the Broadway stage. Brooks also had a vocal role in the 2005 animated film Robots. He is supposedly currently working on a sequel to his 1987 hit Spaceballs, a parody of the Star Wars and Star Trek series.
Brooks is one of a selected group who have received an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy. 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' films are on the American Film Institute's list of funniest American films: Blazing Saddles (#6), The Producers (#11), and Young Frankenstein (#13).
Brooks and wife Anne Bancroft worked together on three films: Brooks' 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be, his 1995 film Dracula: Dead and Loving It and in his 1976 Silent Movie. Years later, they appeared as themselves in the fourth season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, spoofing the finale of The Producers. It is reported that Bancroft encouraged Brooks to take The Producers to Broadway where it became an enormous success, as 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 has 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 for Christmas 2005. As of early April 2006, Brooks had begun composing the score to a Broadway musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein, which he says is "perhaps the best movie [he] ever made." No deadline has been set for the work's completion, but after it is finished Brooks will begin fundraising and production. 
Brooks was married to Florence Baum from 1951 to 1961. Their marriage ended in divorce. Mel and Florence had three children, Stefanie, Nicky, and Eddie. More famously, he was married to the actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death June 6, 2005. They met on rehearsal for the Perry Como variety show in 1961 and married three years later, August 5th. They had one son, Maximillian, in 1972.
History of the World, Part I
Robin Hood: Men in Tights