Brooks, 65, has had a career renaissance in the last few years thanks to his award-winning dramatic turn as a sadistic gangster in Drive and the publication of his bestselling novel 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America.
Born Albert Einstein – yes, Albert Einstein! – Brooks grew up in Beverly Hills, Calif., the son of comic Harry Parke, who performed on Eddie Cantor’s radio program under the name Parkyakarkus.He attended the same high school as Rob Reiner and Richard Dreyfuss, with whom he has remained lifelong friends.
He created short films for Saturday Night Live in its early years and had notable guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He had a supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s classic 1976 film Taxi Driver before writing, directing, and starring in Real Life, a takeoff on PBS’s An American Family. Often referred to as the West Coast Woody Allen, Brooks went on to direct a number of other films, including Modern Romance, Lost in America, and Defending Your Life. In 1987, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Broadcast News.
Brooks dated Linda Ronstadt in the 1970s and remained a bachelor until his 40s when he married artist Kimberly Shlain, with whom he has a son and a daughter.
Finding Nemo 2 is scheduled for a 2016 release.