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series: Mel Brooks: American Masters
air date: 8/01/13 9:00 PM
In 60 years in show business, Mel Brooks has earned more major awards than any other living entertainer. A comedy giant of our time, scrawny Melvin Kaminsky developed his aggressively funny personality on the mean streets of Brooklyn, to protect against bullies. His first public success came in the early '60s with the 2000 Year Old Man albums, recorded with Carl Reiner and unleashing Brooks' wacky mind on the world -- his brazen satirical film The Producers won the 1968 Oscar for best screenplay and such cult classics as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Twelve Chairs, High Anxiety, To Be or Not to Be, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights followed. Ironically, this larger-than-life, loud-mouthed little man is very private and has been fairly reclusive since his wife of 41 years, Anne Bancroft, died in 2005. He has never authorized a biography and has requested that his friends not talk about him, making his full participation with AMERICAN MASTERS a genuine first.
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