James L. Brooks Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (4)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Birth NameJames Lawrence Brooks
Nickname Jim
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

James L. Brooks was born on May 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as James Lawrence Brooks. He is a writer and producer, known for As Good as It Gets (1997), Terms of Endearment (1983) and Broadcast News (1987). He was previously married to Holly Holmberg Brooks and Marianne Catherine Morrissey.

Spouse (2)

Holly Holmberg Brooks (23 July 1978 - 1999) ( divorced) ( 3 children)
Marianne Catherine Morrissey (7 July 1964 - 1972) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Sharp-witted, acerbic sense of humor
Frequently casts Jack Nicholson, Albert Brooks
Writes at least one character who is an obsessive-compulsive or has OCD (Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983), Holly Hunter in Broadcast News (1987), Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets (1997), Téa Leoni in Spanglish (2004)).

Trivia (13)

Daughters: Amy Brooks; born 1971 and Chloe Brooks. Son: Cooper Brooks.
Owns Gracie Films which produces The Simpsons (1989).
He is among an elite group of seven directors who have won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Original/Adapted) Oscars for the same film. In 1984 he won all three for Terms of Endearment (1983). The other directors are Leo McCarey (for Going My Way (1944)), Billy Wilder (for The Apartment (1960)), Francis Ford Coppola (for The Godfather: Part II (1974)), Peter Jackson (for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (the brothers co-produced, co-directed and co-wrote No Country for Old Men (2007) with each other), and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)). Brooks is the only one to do so with his directorial debut and the only one to do so without collaborators in any of the three categories.
Directed nine different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, John Lithgow, Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear. Nicholson, MacLaine and Hunt won Oscars for their performances in one of Brooks' movies (Nicholson twice).
Member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Writers Branch) [2006-]
Won 19 Prime Time Emmy awards--more than any person in history. As producer he has won nine for The Simpsons (1989), three for Taxi (1978), three for The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) and one for The Tracey Ullman Show (1987); as writer he won two for "Mary Tyler Moore" and one for "The Tracey Ullman Show".
Was best man at Norman Pearlstine's and Nancy Friday's wedding.
His laughter is heard in the studio audience of many shows he produced, especially Taxi (1978), in which his laughter is heard through all five seasons. It appears louder than any of the other audience members, sounding like a "Haw", sustaining the "Aw" sound.
During the opening credits for some of the seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970), there is a scene of Mary filming by the one of the lakes in Minneapolis. During that scene, two men jog by--one of them is Brooks.
Discovered Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, which resulted in their movie Bottle Rocket (1996).
He was commissioned to do a screen adaptation of Terms of Endearment (1983) by wealthy businessman Norton Simon and his wife, the former actress Jennifer Jones, as a comeback vehicle for her. Brooks decided he didn't want to have to adapt the character of Aurora to a particular actress, and persuaded Paramount to buy the rights from the Simons. He cast Shirley MacLaine because she was the only actress who viewed the story as a comedy. When he won the screenplay Oscar, Brooks thanked Jennifer Jones Simon.
Along with Delbert Mann, Jerome Robbins, Robert Redford, Kevin Costner and Sam Mendes, he is one of only six people to win the Academy Award for Best Director for their directorial debut: Mann for Marty (1955), Robbins for West Side Story (1961) (which he co-directed with Robert Wise, Redford for Ordinary People (1980), Brooks for Terms of Endearment (1983), Costner for Dances with Wolves (1990) and Mendes for American Beauty (1999).
Produced, wrote and directed three Best Picture Oscar nominees: Terms of Endearment (1983), Broadcast News (1987) and As Good as It Gets (1997). He won three awards (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay) for the first of these. These three films were among the first four he directed, and out of a total of six. He also produced a fourth Best Picture nominee: Jerry Maguire (1996).

Personal Quotes (7)

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.
[on I'll Do Anything (1994)] I wanted to do a Hollywood story. At the time it seemed to me, and it turned out to be a real miscalculation, to get the truth about Hollywood, the form had to be larger than life, a musical. I did a lot of strange things on that. Because of my background I went for actors on it and not singers. I'm in love with actors. I had great musical people, the best. I had Twyla Tharp as my choreographer. Prince as my songwriter. Sinéad O'Connor did one song, a beautiful song. And I went to work, and it was the first time I fell in love with my leading lady, who was this six-year-old magical child. And her mother was great--part of the movie was based on my experience with my own two daughters, and I sort of became a surrogate dad. I had all these other people around me that I loved and it was great. And then we went to our first preview. And it was a disaster. We had walkouts, it was awful. Then the worst thing of all happened--someone who saw it told somebody who told somebody who told the Los Angeles Times about what had happened, and then they came after the story. So now here I was trying to fix the film and I actually have the major home-town newspaper publish what had happened, and kill us dead in the water. And they made a story out of my odyssey, came to my next preview and it was just horrendous. So eventually I pared down the music, took almost all of it out. And you can speculate on a lot of things about why the picture didn't work. I'm a guy who started out in one form and changed it to another, but the movie played and people laughed, because I saw it with an audience. But it utterly failed commercially and I felt like I had let down a lot of people. It's my job to take it personally. When I ask people to join me and work with me, who else is responsible? But I haven't seen the movie in a long time and I still think it's a good movie.
[on being employed by a studio] Sometimes they give you so much rope you forget it's around your neck. But it always is. You feel it when they yank it.
[in 2014] The great thing in television, usually the writer's in charge. It's the one place. In movies it's certainly not true. But in television it's true and there's something--the inmates running the asylum and all that. And there's something to that. Right now, there are so many great shows that are truly authored. It's a place where writers are in charge. Right now, a lot of the great things we see each year will be on television.
I saw Annie Hall (1977) with a group of people working in comedy and television. We were all stunned. Stunned. It was like watching a spaceship land. That something that funny could also be that beautiful.
People used to say, you know you're in the hands of a good screenwriter when you're not aware of the writing. I've never subscribed to that. In Juno (2007), suddenly you're riveted by the fact that people haven't talked like that before. I think the treat is always when you are aware of the writing.
[accepting the Best Picture Oscar for Terms of Endearment (1983)] It took a long time to get the picture made and this community has been generous to this picture from long before it was made. There was a lot about every studio turning it down; I think it's much more significant that a Hollywood studio made it and that [the] Hollywood studio was flexible and that the studio ended up happy that it made it--I think that's significant. too, that there was an audience for this picture.

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