Brooks, James L.

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BROOKS, JAMES L. (1940– ), U.S. producer, director, writer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Edward M. and Dorothy Helen (Sheinheit) Brooks, James L. Brooks grew up in suburban New Jersey. He attended New York University from 1958 to 1960. At cbs News, he worked his way up from copy boy to news writer and reporter, from 1964 to 1966. He left New York for Hollywood in 1966, working for producer David Wolper at Wolper Productions and selling scripts he penned for shows like My Three Sons, The Andy Griffith Show, My Mother the Car, and That Girl. In 1968, he was hired on as executive story editor for abc and created the Emmy Award-winning series Room 222 with partner Allan Burns. Brooks went back to cbs in 1970, creating, writing, and producing the hit tv show The Mary Tyler Moore Show, based on his experiences working for cbs News. Brooks finished out the decade with numerous Emmy wins under his belt and three series on the air at the same time – Rhoda (1974–78), Lou Grant (1977–82), and Taxi (1978–83). He moved into feature films first as a writer on Starting Over (1979) and then as writer-director of the Academy Award – winning Terms of Endearment (1983), a comedy about a dysfunctional family and fatal illness staring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. Brooks launched his own production company, Gracie Films, in 1984, and in 1987 drew again from his time at cbs News for the film Broadcast News, and served as executive producer of the tv comedy The Tracey Ullman Show (1987–90). As a producer, his string of hits continued with Big (1988), Say Anything… (1989), The War of the Roses (1989), and Jerry Maguire (1996). As a director, his films after Broadcast News included I'll Do Anything (1994), As Good as It Gets (1997), and Spanglish (2004). Before The Tracey Ullman Show ended, Brooks spun off a series of animated shorts featured on the show into its own series, The Simpsons (1989), which has the distinction of being the longest running cartoon in the history of television. Brooks has been nominated for and won numerous Emmys (41 nominations, 18 wins), Golden Globes (11 nominations, three wins), and Academy Awards (eight nominations, three wins). In 1998, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Brooks, James L.

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