A one-man comic industry, Mel Brooks wrote, produced, directed and starred in some of the most uproarious film and television comedies of the 1960s and 1970s, including "The Producers" (1967), "Blazing Saddles" (1974) and "Young Frankenstein" (1974), which, along with a hit Broadway version of "The Producers," ushered him into that rare circle of talent that could claim an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony to their names. Born Melvin Kaminsky to a family of Russian and Polish Jews in Brooklyn, New York on June 28, 1926, Brooks discovered humor at an early age as a way to combat bullying over his small stature and sickly frame. He also found his life's ambition during this time period by attending a performance of "Anything Goes" on Broadway; he left the show determined to make a career as an entertainer. Brooks found his first outlet for that goal as a poolside entertainment and master of ceremonies at resorts in the Catskills region of New York. Billed as Mel Brooks, he performed as a musician and comic through his teenaged years, pausing in 1944 to serve with the United States Army's 78th Infantry Division during World War II. Upon his return to the United States, Brooks continued to perform on the resort circuit while also working as an actor on stage and in radio. In 1949, he took his first job as a comedy writer for "The Admiral Broadway Revue" (NBC/DuMont, 1949), a live variety series featuring a powerfully built comic with a talent for mimicry and pantomime named Sid Caesar. When Caesar got his own series, "Your Show of Show" (NBC, 1950-1954), he took Brooks and several other "Revue" writers with him, along with such future talents as Neil Simon, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen; the resulting variety series was one of the most acclaimed comedy programs of television's Golden Age, and a profoundly influential series on television comedy in the 20th century. Brooks would work with Caesar on several subsequent television projects before moving to Los Angeles in 1960; there, he and Reiner became popular guests on talk shows, and recorded a top-selling album featuring an improvised act called "The 2,000 Year Old Man," with Reiner asking Brooks, as the titular character, about his perspective on historical events. The character would also inform his 1963 short film "The Critic" (1963), a spoof of esoteric arthouse films with Brooks's unseen old man lambasting a series of high-minded visuals. The short, which won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for director Ernest Pintoff, was soon followed by a small-screen spoof, "Get Smart" (NBC/CBS, 1965-1970), which lampooned the James Bond phenomenon by focusing on an inept spy (played by Don Adams). The series, co-created with Buck Henry, would win seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1968 and 1969. While working on "Smart" and other projects, Brooks realized a long-gestating project-a musical comedy about Adolf Hitler-by writing and directing "The Producers" (1967). The film, about two down-and-out showmen (Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) who create a deliberate Broadway flop about Hitler to abscond with the investors' money, was initially considered too controversial for distribution; Brooks would eventually send the films to theaters as a specialized attraction, where it netted rave reviews and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Now established as a filmmaker, Brooks unleashed several projects, including the comedy "The Twelve Chairs" (1970) and an adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer," but the former was a flop and the latter never produced, which left Brooks convinced that his career had stalled. But an opportunity to work on a comic Western for Warner Bros. eventually led to Brooks writing (with contributions from Richard Pryor and Andrew Bergman) and directing "Blazing Saddles" (1974). An unbridled spoof of movie Westerns, the film managed to embrace the crudest bathroom humor (the infamous campfire sequence) and some biting commentary on racism. A huge success at the box office, it netted three Oscar nominations and revived Brooks' profile in Hollywood. His next project, a satire on Universal Pictures' horror cycle of the 1930s called "Young Frankenstein," marked his third collaboration with actor/writer Gene Wilder, who had starred in "Producers" and "Saddles." Wilder co-wrote "Frankenstein" and starred as the reluctant grandson of the monster-making doctor, while a host of Brooks' repertory players, including Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman and Cloris Leachman, lent support. Another huge box office hit, as well as the recipient of two Oscar nominations, "Frankenstein" would also serve as the high-water mark for Brooks' screen efforts in terms of ticket sales and critical acclaim; subsequent projects, like the TV comedy "When Things Were Rotten" (ABC, 1975), with Dick Gautier as a hapless Robin Hood, and "Silent Movie" (1976), an affectionate tribute to silent comedies filmed almost entirely without sound, were met with either modest acclaim or none at all. Brooks rebounded in 1977 with "High Anxiety," a well-versed spoof of Alfred Hitchcock's best-known thrillers that netted two Golden Globe nominations. In the 1980s, Brooks added producer to his lengthy c.v. by shepherding a film version of the Broadway play "The Elephant Man" to the screen with a little-known director named David Lynch behind the camera. The film, which earned eight Oscar nominations, helped to establish Brooks' production company, Brooksfilms, as a destination for eclectic, arthouse-minded features and directors, and soon added "Frances" (1982), Richard Benjamin's "My Favorite Year' (1982)-based on "Your Show of Shows"-David Cronenberg's "The Fly" (1987) and "84 Charing Cross Road" (1987), which starred Brooks' spouse, actress Anne Bancroft. Brooks himself also continued to write and direct comedies, beginning in 1981 with "History of the World Part 1," a no-holds-barred revamp of man's early history from a gross-out perspective; a minor hit, it was followed by a slew of genre parodies, including "Spaceballs" (1987), which took aim at science fiction; "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (1993) and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1993). Undaunted, Brooks returned to his first hit and refashioned "The Producers" as a Broadway musical. It proved to be an unqualified success, netting 12 Tonys and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and again reviving Brooks's fortunes in the entertainment industry. In 2006, Brooks wrote a musical version of "Young Frankenstein," which performed well on Broadway, though not on par with "Producers." While working on both projects, Brooks remained remarkably active on a number of other fronts, including a frequent guest star on television series and voice-over actor for animated projects, including a recurring role on "Mad About You" (NBC, 1992-99), "Hotel Transylvania 2" (2015) and "Toy Story 4" (2019).