is among the most inventive practitioners of movie comedy, as
well as one of its most incisive commentators on contemporary
life. Brooks began his career as a stand-up comic, and went on
to become an award-winning actor and filmmaker.
Brooks' films as director include Defending Your Life,
which he wrote and starred in; and Mother, Lost in America,
Modern Romance, and Real Life, all of which he co-wrote
and also starred in.
Lost in America and Mother were honored by the National
Society of Film Critics with the Best Screenplay Award; the latter
film also won the New York Film Critics Circle and the ShoWest
Best Original Screenplay Awards.
Brooks received an Academy Award nomination for his performance
in James L. Brooks' Broadcast News, which marked his first
starring role in a film that he did not direct. Albert Brooks
made his film debut in Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic Taxi
Driver, appearing opposite Cybill Shepherd. (Both Scorsese
and Shepherd make cameo appearances in The Muse.)
His other film credits include Private Benjamin, Unfaithfully
Yours, Twilight Zone - The Movie, The Scout (which he also
co-wrote), I'll Do Anything (reteamed with James L. Brooks),
Critical Care, Out of Sight, and Dr. Dolittle
(in voiceover as a tiger).
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brooks is the son of radio comedian
Harry Einstein, best known for his character Parkyakarkus. Brooks
studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University. He started his career
in 1968 doing stand-up comedy on national television. He began
on The Steve Allen Show, later became a regular on The
Dean Martin Summer Show, and performed on such variety programs
as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Hollywood
Palace, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Brooks recorded two comedy albums: Comedy Minus One, and
A Star is Bought (the latter having earned him a
Grammy Award nomination in 1975 for Best Comedy Recording).
His first directorial effort was for the PBS series The Great
American Dream Machine. He adapted an article he had written
for Esquire, Albert Brooks' Famous School For Comedians,
into a short film. Following this, Brooks made six short films
for the debut season (1975-1976) of NBC's Saturday Night Live.
In June 1995, Albert Brooks was honored by the American Film Institute
with a retrospective of his work, at the First U.S. Comedy Arts
Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
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