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American Masters: Mel Brooks: Make A Noise

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.

 Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Credit: Courtesy of Michael Grecco

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Credit: Courtesy of WNET/AMERICAN MASTERS

During PBS’ AMERICAN MASTERS “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday, January 14, 2013, series creator and executive producer Susan Lacy, Mel Brooks and filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg discuss the film profiling Brooks’ life.

During PBS’ AMERICAN MASTERS “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday, January 14, 2013, series creator and executive producer Susan Lacy, Mel Brooks and filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg discuss the film profiling Brooks’ life.

Credit: Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS

Photo taken for for Mademoiselle Magazine while Mel Brooks was filming "History of the World: Part I" in 1980-81.

Photo taken for for Mademoiselle Magazine while Mel Brooks was filming "History of the World: Part I" in 1980-81.

Credit: Courtesy of Pamela Barkentin Blackburn

Mel Brooks in "To Be or Not To Be."

Mel Brooks in "To Be or Not To Be."

Credit: Courtesy of Brooksfilms LTD.

Mel Brooks in "To Be or Not To Be."

Mel Brooks in "To Be or Not To Be."

Credit: Courtesy of Brooksfilms LTD.

Mel Brooks directing "Life Stinks."

Mel Brooks directing "Life Stinks."

Credit: Courtesy of Brooksfilms LTD.

Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft at the premiere of "LA. Story" film on February 5, 1991.

Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft at the premiere of "LA. Story" film on February 5, 1991.

Credit: Courtesy of REX Photo Library/ Photo by Berliner Studio/BEImages (263350b)

Mel Brooks, Alfred Hitchcock and Anne Bancroft.

Mel Brooks, Alfred Hitchcock and Anne Bancroft.

Credit: Courtesy of Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks and Sid Caesar in the early 1950s.

Mel Brooks and Sid Caesar in the early 1950s.

Credit: Courtesy of Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn taken on the set of "Young Frankenstein" circa 1974.

Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn taken on the set of "Young Frankenstein" circa 1974.

Credit: Courtesy of Steve Schapiro

Mel Brooks drinking coffee. The photo was taken by Carl Reiner while the two were writers for "Your Show of Shows" c. 1950-54.

Mel Brooks drinking coffee. The photo was taken by Carl Reiner while the two were writers for "Your Show of Shows" c. 1950-54.

Credit: Courtesy of WNET/AMERICAN MASTERS

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in their in their iconic "2000 Year Old Man" routine.

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in their in their iconic "2000 Year Old Man" routine.

Credit: Photography by William Claxton/ Courtesy Demont Photo Management, LLC

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.

Credit: Courtesy of © Robert Trachtenberg

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in August 2009.

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in August 2009.

Credit: Courtesy of Shout! Factory

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Credit: Courtesy of WNET/AMERICAN MASTERS

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Credit: Courtesy of Brooksfilms LTD.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Mel Brooks, director, producer, writer and actor.

Credit: Courtesy of Steven R. Stack

Family photo: Back Row Left To Right: Mel’s brothers Leonard and Irving; Front Row Left To Right: Cousin Merrill, Mel Brooks and brother Bernard.

Family photo: Back Row Left To Right: Mel’s brothers Leonard and Irving; Front Row Left To Right: Cousin Merrill, Mel Brooks and brother Bernard.

Credit: Courtesy of Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks' school photo.

Mel Brooks' school photo.

Credit: Courtesy of Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks in the early 1950s.

Mel Brooks in the early 1950s.

Credit: Courtesy of Mel Brooks

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