James L. Brooks

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James L. Brooks

Born

5/9/1940, Brooklyn, New York

Birth Name

Gender

Male

Also Known As

James Hell Brooks, Jim Brooks
10
out of 10
User Rating
9 votes

Biography

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James L. Brooks was born on May 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. Brooks grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, and attended New York University. After dropping out of NYU, Brooks worked as an usher at CBS TV before getting a job writing for CBS news broadcasts.…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Brooks supported The Simpsons episode "Moaning Lisa", because he always wanted to do a plot involving a character being sad and not knowing why.

    • Brooks has deemed The Critic as a "labor of love".

    • After they brought Bottle Rocket to his attention, Brooks mentored Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson. Owen believes they wouldn't have gotten the film made if it wasn't for Brooks' help.

    • Brooks mentored Cameron Crowe and was the executive producer of Crowe's directorial debut Say Anything... Crowe later recalled, in an interview of the film's anniversary, that he approached Brooks and told him about these ideas he had. Upon hearing this, Brooks encouraged Crowe to keep writing.

    • Brooks is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Writers Branch) [2006-]

    • During an episode of The Simpsons, a movie is playing at a local porno theater called: "I'll Do Anyone." This is a spoof of Brooks' film I'll Do Anything.

    • As of at least 2007, James L. Brooks has won more prime time Emmy awards than anyone in history (19).

    • Brooks was raised in a Jewish family.

    • Bart and his friends, during an episode of The Simpsons, are seen watching an adult-themed video titled: "Broadcast Nudes." This joke is a reference to Brooks' film Broadcast News.

    • During the end credits for the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Brooks is one of the people in a short list of "thanks."

    • Brooks married Holly Beth Holmberg in 1978. He was previously married to Marianne Catherine Morrissey.

    • Brooks is the owner of Gracie Films.

    • Although Brooks was born in Brooklyn, NY, he was raised in North Bergen, NJ.

    • James L. Brooks attended New York University in New York, NY. He dropped out after two years.

    • James' parents were Edward M. Brooks and Dorothy Helen Brooks.

    • James L. Brooks is an outspoken Democrat. During his career, he has made over $175,000 in donations to Democratic Party candidates.

    • James Brooks' birthday (May 9th) can be seen marked on a calandar in the The Simpsons episode "Kill Gil."

    • On the The Simpsons annual "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episodes, Brooks has been credited as:
      - James Hell Brooks
      - Chains Hell Brooks
      - Maims Hell Brooks
      - Veins Hell Brooks
      - James "Just One Hug" Brooks
      - James "Dangerous Though Cuddly" Brooks
      - James "Bemused But Bloodthirsty" Brooks

    • In the '70s, Brooks would often sit in the studio audience of shows that he produced.

    • James L. Brooks has two daughters and one son. Their names are Amy Lorraine Brooks, Chloe Brooks, and Cooper Brooks.

  • Quotes

    • Brooks: (about Patty & Selma) They suck the joy out of everything.

    • Brooks: When you work alongside somebody day in and day out, the relationships tend to be wonderful, they're lifelong.

    • Brooks: (about film making) Sometimes the battle is to make it a little more personal to you to really get into it, and sometimes the battle is to make it less personal to you so you can get more objectivity.

    • Brooks: (about The Simpsons) It's 16 years, and we have gathered together the people who have been there from the beginning, and everybody who ever was a show runner on it, so we've all gathered together and we're looking at this right now. It was my full time job for two, two and a half years.

    • Brooks: If you've put in your time and you say, "Okay, I know I spent a lot of time on this, I know I listened," then you go forward, and one of the key things of my research was the first time I think it happened once where three mothers in a group, three Hispanic mothers in a group brought their children and the three kids spoke English and the three mothers did not. The conversation that started there led to so much in the script, that one session.

    • Brooks: Well, the great thing about research is that if you've done enough of it, you don't feel like a jerk to try it.

    • Brooks: If you do two pictures every three years you're pretty smooth, you get your act together and it's easier to get continuity of people and everything.

    • Brooks: If somebody has an idea I'll try it no matter who-instead of having a long discussion about it, I say let's try it.

    • Brooks: I value comedy. I value somebody who can be funny.

    • Brooks: I think you have a pact with an audience in every picture, and I think the pact is to try and be truthful and to be real.

    • Brooks: I tend to take about a year to write a script.

    • Brooks: (about Adam Sandler) I always liked his work. I always liked all of the regular-guy stuff about him, his comedy and stuff like that tends to be daring and just really inventive.

    • Brooks: (talking about Andy Kaufman) Originally, when we were working to create Taxi, Andy's manager dragged us to the Improv (an L.A. comedy club) to see his act, and this guy named Tony Clifton came out and just terrorized the audience. Then Andy comes out and does his act, and while he's onstage, his manager came over to us and told us that Andy and Tony were the same person. It just made your eyes pop. He loved that we would give him a different dressing room and contract for Tony.

    • Brooks: The shorts were getting a great audience response, and Matt had always had this dream of making a prime-time animated program, which was not something that was done at the time. So myself and another producer friend got together with Matt to create The Simpsons.

    • Brooks: (talking about As Good As It Gets) I honestly couldn't think of anyone who could have played the part of the lead other than Jack Nicholson. I had to think of someone who could play this monster, but not completely turn the audience off, someone who could in the end be loved. Jack was just the only choice.

    • Brooks: I actually never meant to get back into television, but I knew that Tracey Ullman was trying to get someone to produce a TV show with her. Originally, I was only advising her, but when she couldn't find anyone after a while, I agreed to produce the show. It was lucky that I did, because one of the people who was a part of The Tracey Ullman Show was an animator named Matt Groening, who was the creator of The Simpsons.

    • Brooks: When I broke into movies, it was hard for anyone who had previously worked in television to break into the movies. It's easier now, but was almost impossible back then.

    • Brooks: What I always look for is, this isn't my movie.

    • Brooks: (about The Simpsons Movie) We're going to put some fake plots out there just to make it interesting.

    • Brooks: A lot of things just aren't true any more.

    • Brooks: I had a marketing idea that everybody hated, decency is sexy.

    • Brooks: I love it if comedy reflects real life, because to me it's more reassuring that we'll get through.

    • Brooks: I love romantic comedy, but I think you have to have another idea that you're chasing along with romantic comedy.

    • Brooks: Simpsons is a great, fun culture, and everybody just cares so much in not letting it slip, so it's not like lazy work. It's active work.

    • Brooks: Sometimes the battle is to make it a little more personal to you to really get into it, and sometimes the battle is to make it less personal to you so you can get more objectivity.

    • Brooks: Having a problem in your film happens a lot. Having to deal with a serious problem happens sometimes. Having to deal with a problem with your film under a glare of publicity as you're dealing with the problem was murder.

    • Brooks: I look at the Mary Show or if I look at Taxi, this is five years of my life, seven years of my life, this is the block you grew up on, these shows, and you have formed great relationships with the people.

    • Brooks: Kids in general make things fresh and alive and they have this great appreciation for, Holy mackerel, we're making a movie!

    • Brooks: Once you do a religiously Hispanic story, you start to talk to people. I think My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a great example of that.

    • Brooks: If somebody told me tomorrow that I had to go back and do a light romantic comedy, I'd love to do it.

    • Brooks: If everything in a movie is much better than what happens to us in life and everything has a happy ending, it's not a real great message to us that we'll make it with our lives.

    • Brooks: I think television keeps on being a place where writers can go and if they're successful they can have their way and they can have creative freedom.

    • Brooks: The idea of the movie is that all of us who ran the show at one point and who have been there from the beginning come together as the writing team. That's the idea of it.

    • Brooks: The humanity is out there. It is like a lesson.

    • Brooks: While you're doing it, it is sort of a lonely kind of feeling, even though you are surrounded by so many people giving beyond the call. That's generally true of movies, there's a sense of urgency, people risking their tail, people working past exhaustion. That's what moviemaking is. It's lonely because you asked all of them to work that hard for this idea you had.

    • Brooks: (talking about Téa Leoni) She was one of the two toughest characters I've ever tackled in my life.

    • Brooks: (talking about The Simpsons staff) No, we have arguments. And one of the good things about a table is that nothing gets in unless the table laughs.

    • Brooks: (talking about The Simpsons Movie) In this long process, it took us a year and a half of the hardest work to begin to look like we didn't give a shit, which is what the movie needs. The movie needs a loose feel, and yet we have to have the discipline.

    • Brooks: (talking about The Simpsons) There's nothing where we do really basic exposition on who Homer is. I mean, if you're gonna be surprised that he strangles his son a few minutes in, we're gonna have a rough go with you.

    • Brooks: What does it mean for an actor to make a part his own? It means that he takes on what you had intended and starts to put in his own stuff so that it becomes something that could only happen if he played it.

    • Brooks: You become so obsessed, and that's not a bad thing for a movie. Serve it with that sense that it's the whole world.

    • Brooks: Two of my colleagues on Taxi who went on to do Cheers said... they knew Ted was a candidate for Sam.

    • Brooks: I made some choices that might not have been great choices, I stayed with acting over singing. I think a good movie came out of it.

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