Mel Brooks

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Melvin "Mel" Kaminsky (born June 28, 1926),[1] better known by his stage name Mel Brooks, is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor, and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. Brooks is a member of the short list of entertainers with the distinction of having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. Three of his films ranked in the Top 20 on the American Film Institute's list of the Top 100 comedy films of all-time: Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein.[2]

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Early life

Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York, a son of Maximilian Kaminsky and his wife Kate Brookman.[3] His father's family were German Jews from the Baltic seaport of Danzig (modern Gdansk); his mother's family were Russian Jews from Kiev.[4] His father died of kidney disease when he was only 34.

Brooks was a small, sickly boy who was often bullied and picked on by his classmates. Taking on the comically aggressive job of Tummler (master entertainer) in different Catskills resorts, he gradually gained in confidence. Following high school, he attended the Virginia Military Institute [5] and served in the United States Army as a corporal during World War II, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge.[6]

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