Mel Brooks celebrates 97th birthday, will receive honorary Academy Award: “I am very happy to still be alive”

Mel Brooks is regarded as one of the all-time greats of comedy in movies; his comedic classics, such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein, continue to make people laugh.

Moreover, Brooks is still going strong decades later: he just turned 97 today!

It was also revealed recently that he will get a significant award this year—an honorary Academy Award!

With a career spanning 70 years, Brooks, who was born on June 28, 1926, is one of the great living legends of show business. He began his career in television by co-creating Get Smart and writing for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.

But it was as a film director and screenwriter—starting with the Oscar-winning The Producers—that he found his greatest renown and fortune.

Both of the parodies Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles were enormous successes and usually cited as two of the greatest comedy of all time. He also directed Spaceballs, History of the World, Part I, Silent Movie, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

In 2001, the Broadway adaptation of The Producers became a smashing success, garnering a record 12 Tony Awards, including three for Brooks. Brooks contributed as a writer and producer to the Hulu series History of the World, Part II this year, which is a continuation of his film.

The beneficiaries of this year’s honorary Oscars were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday. According to academy president Janet Yang, the awards recognize “four trailblazers who have transformed the film industry and inspired generations of filmmakers and movie fans.”

Mel Brooks is among this year’s recipients, honoring his long and iconic career. “Mel Brooks lights up our hearts with his humor, and his legacy has made a lasting impact on every facet of entertainment,” Yang said.

Mel Brooks, US factor, film director and comedian, brandishing a sword and dressed in a style of a Roman centurion in a publicity portrait issued for the film, ‘History of the World, Part I’, 1981. The comedy, directed by Brooks who also starred in five roles: ‘Moses’, ‘Comicus’, ‘Torquemada’, ‘Jacques’, and Louis XVI’. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

This award is typically given to significant individuals without an Oscar trophy, however Brooks has already received a prestigious Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Producers in 1969.

He was nominated in 1975 for Best Original Song for the Blazing Saddles theme song as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for Young Frankenstein.

Brooks has won four Emmys, three Grammys, and three Tony prizes, making him the unusual “EGOT” (all four major entertainment prizes) winner.

Carol Littleton, the founding senior director of the Sundance Institute’s Artist Programs, Michelle Satter, and movie icon Angela Bassett are among recipients of honorary Oscars this year.

“Across her decades-long career, Angela Bassett has continued to deliver transcendent performances that set new standards in acting,” Yang said of the acclaimed actress, who was previously nominated for playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It? and last year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The legendary comedian also used the occasion to think back on his early career in show business and declares that he is happy with how things ended out.

“First of all, I am very happy to still be alive!” he joked.

“But secondly, it is so nice to be recognized by my peers in The Academy over 50 years after my last Oscar,” he added.

The legendary comedian also used the occasion to think back on his early career in show business and declares that he is happy with how things ended out.

“A long time ago I was given a choice: I had an offer to be working as an apprentice accountant or as a coffee runner in show business. I’m still glad I chose the coffee.”

Cheers to the iconic Mel Brooks’ birthday! We still laugh decades later when we see his comedic masterpieces Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, and we can’t think of anyone more deserving of an honorary Oscar.

Please share this story and wish Mel Brooks a happy 97th birthday!


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