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Elaine May is a Actor, Director, Scriptwriter, Songs and Additional Writing American born on 21 april 1932 at Philadelphia (USA)

Elaine May

Elaine May
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Birth name Elaine Iva Berlin
Nationality USA
Birth 21 april 1932 (91 years) at Philadelphia (USA)
Awards Writers Guild of America Award

Elaine May (born April 21, 1932) is an American screenwriter, film director, actress and comedian. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. She has been twice nominated for an Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and the Nichols-directed Primary Colors (1998), but remains best known perhaps for her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols. She received the National Medal of Arts in 2012 for her contributions.

After studying acting with theater coach Maria Ouspenskaya in Los Angeles, she moved to Chicago in 1955 and became a founding member of the Compass Players, an improvisational theater group. May began working alongside Nichols, who was also in the group, and together they began writing and performing their own comedy sketches, which were enormously popular. In 1957 they both quit the group to form their own stage act, Nichols and May, in New York. Jack Rollins, who produced most of Woody Allen's films, said their act was "so startling, so new, as fresh as could be. I was stunned by how really good they were."

They performed nightly to mostly sold-out shows, in addition to making various TV and radio appearances. In their comedy act, they created satirical clichés and character types which made fun of the new intellectual, cultural, and social order that was just emerging at the time. In doing so, "May cracked the stereotype of what roles a woman could play", wrote Gerald Nachman, "breaking through the psychological restrictions of playing comedy as a woman." Together, they became an inspiration to many younger comedians, including Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. After four years, at the height of their fame, they decided to discontinue their act and took their careers in different directions, Nichols becoming a leading film director and May becoming primarily a screenwriter and playwright, along with acting and directing. Their relatively brief time together as comedy stars led New York talk show host Dick Cavett to call their act "one of the comic meteors in the sky." Nachman noted that "Nichols and May are perhaps the most ardently missed of all the satirical comedians of their era.

Biography

May est née Elaine Iva Berlin à Philadelphie en 1932, elle est la fille de parents juifs, le metteur en scène et acteur Jack Berlin et l'actrice Ida Berlin. Enfant, Elaine joue avec son père dans sa troupe de théâtre yiddish à travers le pays. Elle fait ses débuts sur scène en tournée dès l'âge de trois ans.

Parce que la troupe fait de nombreuses tournées, elle a fréquenté 50 écoles différentes à seulement dix ans. Elle dit qu'elle détestait l'école et passait son temps libre à la maison en lisant les contes de fées et la mythologie. Après la mort de son père quand elle a 11 ans, sa mère déménage à Los Angeles. Elle s'inscrit plus tard au Hollywood High School.

May abandonne l'école à quatorze ans. Deux ans plus tard, à seize ans, elle épouse Marvin May, un ingénieur et inventeur de jouets. Ils ont un enfant, Jeannie Berlin, qui devient actrice et scénariste. Ils divorcent un an plus tard, puis elle épouse le parolier Sheldon Harnick en 1962, qui est surtout connu pour son travail dans Fiddler on the Roof. Leur mariage est de courte durée, ils divorcent un an plus tard. Elle épouse ensuite son psychanalyste, le Dr David L. Rubinfine, et ils restent mariés jusqu'à la mort de celui-ci en 1982. Son partenaire actuel est le metteur en scène et chorégraphe américain Stanley Donen.

Après son divorce d'avec Marvin May, elle étudie l'art dramatique avec Maria Ouspenskaya. Elle occupe également des petits boulots pendant cette période et tente de s'inscrire à l'université. Elle apprend toutefois que les collèges californiens exigent un diplôme d'études secondaires à appliquer, qu'elle n'a pas. Après avoir découvert que l'Université de Chicago est l'une des rares écoles qui accepte des étudiants sans diplômes, avec 7 $ en poche et en auto-stop, elle part vers Chicago.

Peu après son arrivée à Chicago en 1950, May commence à prendre des cours à l'université de manière informelle, en assistant au cours sans s'inscrire. Elle engage néanmoins parfois des discussions avec ses professeurs. Mike Nichols, qui est alors acteur dans la troupe de théâtre de l'école, se souvient de sa venue dans sa classe de philosophie.

En 1955, May rejoint un nouveau groupe de théâtre d'improvisation du campus, fondé par Paul Sills et David Shepherd.

May écrit et dirige son film en 1971, une comédie loufoque basée sur le cœur de Jack Ritchie. Le film met en vedette Walter Matthau et May dans les rôles principaux. À l'origine, May a remis une comédie noire de 180 minutes que le studio à découpé en un roman étrange de 102 minutes.

Best films

The Birdcage (1996)
(Scriptwriter)
Tootsie (1982)
(Scriptwriter)
Wolf (1994)
(Scriptwriter)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
(Scriptwriter)
Primary Colors (1998)
(Scriptwriter)
Reds (1981)
(Writer)

Usually with

Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(4 films)
Dave Grusin
Dave Grusin
(5 films)
Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols
(5 films)
Gayne Rescher
Gayne Rescher
(2 films)
Source : Wikidata

Filmography of Elaine May (19 films)

Display filmography as list

Actress

Small Time Crooks, 1h34
Directed by Woody Allen
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Action, Crime
Themes Heist films, Gangster films, Escroquerie
Actors Woody Allen, Tracey Ullman, Elaine May, Hugh Grant, Michael Rapaport, Kristine Nielsen
Roles May
Rating65% 3.298763.298763.298763.298763.29876
Career criminal Ray (Woody Allen) and his cronies want to lease an old restaurant so they can tunnel from the basement of the restaurant to a nearby bank. Ray's wife Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) covers what they are doing by selling cookies from the restaurant. The bank robbery scheme is a miserable failure, but after they franchise the business, selling cookies makes them millionaires.
Wolf
Wolf (1994)
, 2h5
Directed by Mike Nichols
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Thriller, Fantastic, Horror comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Themes Films about animals, Films about magic and magicians, Films about sexuality, Wolves in film, Werewolves in film, Comedy horror films, Mise en scène d'un mammifère
Actors Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer
Roles Operator (voice) (uncredited)
Rating62% 3.148573.148573.148573.148573.14857
Will Randall is bitten by a wolf while driving home in Vermont. Afterwards, he is demoted from editor-in-chief of a publishing house when it is taken over by tycoon Raymond Alden, who replaces him with Will's protégé Stewart Swinton. When Will thinks that his wife Charlotte is having an affair with Stewart, he rushes over to his house where Stewart sees Will angry and asks him what the problem is. Will bites Stewart and rushes upstairs to the room to find Charlotte half-naked. His worst fears are confirmed. Will becomes more aggressive, taking on the characteristics of a wolf.
California Suite, 1h38
Directed by Herbert Ross
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romance
Themes Films about sexuality, LGBT-related films, Films based on plays, LGBT-related films, LGBT-related film
Actors Maggie Smith, Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Bill Cosby, Elaine May
Roles Millie Michaels
Rating61% 3.0977653.0977653.0977653.0977653.097765
In Visitors from New York, Hannah Warren is a Manhattan workaholic who flies to Los Angeles to retrieve her teenaged daughter Jenny after she leaves home to live with her successful screenwriter father Bill. The bickering divorced couple is forced to decide what living arrangements are best for the girl.
Mikey and Nicky, 1h59
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Action, Crime
Themes Mafia films, Gangster films
Actors Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty, Carol Grace, Reuben Greene, William Hickey
Roles Woman on TV (voice) (uncredited)
Rating73% 3.692943.692943.692943.692943.69294
When Nicky calls Mikey yet again to bail him out of trouble—this time a contract on his life for money he stole from his mob boss—Mikey, as always, shows up to help. Overcoming the obstacles of Nicky's paranoia and blind fear, Mikey gets him out of the hotel where he has holed up, and starts to help him plan his escape, but Nicky keeps changing the plan, and a hit man is hot on their trail. As they try to make their escape, the two friends have to confront issues of betrayal, regret, and the value of friendship versus self-preservation.
A New Leaf
A New Leaf (1971)
, 1h42
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Romantic comedy, Romance
Actors Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, George Rose, James Coco, Graham Jarvis
Roles Henrietta Lowell
Rating72% 3.6474753.6474753.6474753.6474753.647475
Henry Graham, a playboy from a wealthy patrician family, has run through his entire inheritance and is completely unequipped to provide for himself. His childhood guardian, Uncle Harry, refuses to give him a dime. Henry considers but is unwilling to exercise the only solution he can think of—suicide. At the suggestion of his valet Harold, Henry decides the only other viable option open to him: marrying into wealth. With a $50,000 loan from Uncle Harry to tide him over, Henry has just six weeks to find a rich bride and repay the money, otherwise he must forfeit all of his property to his uncle.
The Graduate, 1h45
Directed by Mike Nichols
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romance
Themes Films about sexuality, Erotic films, Musical films, Films about virginity
Actors Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson
Roles Girl with Note for Benjamin (uncredited)
Rating79% 3.998043.998043.998043.998043.99804
Benjamin Braddock, aged twenty, has earned his bachelor's degree and has returned home to a party celebrating his graduation at his parents' house in Pasadena, California. Benjamin, visibly uncomfortable as his parents deliver accolades and neighborhood friends ask him about his future plans, evades those who try to congratulate him. Mrs. Robinson, the neglected wife of his father's law partner, insists that he drive her home. Benjamin is coerced inside to have a drink and Mrs. Robinson attempts to seduce him. She invites him up to her daughter's bedroom to see her portrait and then reenters the room naked, making it clear that she is available to him. Benjamin initially rebuffs her, but after a few days, he clumsily organizes a tryst at the Taft hotel.
Enter Laughing, 1h51
Directed by Carl Reiner
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Romance
Themes Films about religion, Films about television, Films about Jews and Judaism, Films based on plays
Actors José Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Elaine May, Jack Gilford, Janet Margolin, Don Rickles
Roles Angela Marlowe
Rating62% 3.1441253.1441253.1441253.1441253.144125
David Kolowitz (Santoni) works as a delivery boy and assistant for a machine shop in New York City in 1938, and is fascinated with the movies.
Luv
Luv (1967)
, 1h33
Directed by Clive Donner
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Romance
Themes Films about sexuality, Films about suicide, Films based on plays
Actors Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Elaine May, Nina Wayne, Eddie Mayehoff, Paul Hartman
Roles Ellen Manville
Rating53% 2.6545852.6545852.6545852.6545852.654585
About to nervously jump off a bridge, scrawny Harry Berlin (Jack Lemmon) is a barely functional human being. Just as he attempts to leap off the bridge, he is distracted by Milt Manville (Peter Falk), an old friend from fifteen years ago. Harry doesn't really recognize him at first but there appears to be a contrast between the two of them with Milt boasting of how well he is doing in life while Harry tries to listen.

Director

Ishtar
Ishtar (1987)
, 1h47
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Action, Adventure, Musical
Themes Films set in Africa, Monde imaginaire, Films about music and musicians, Political films, Buddy films
Actors Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Adjani, Charles Grodin, Warren Beatty, Jack Weston, Abe Vigoda
Rating46% 2.300662.300662.300662.300662.30066
Chuck Clarke (Hoffman) and Lyle Rogers (Beatty) are inept songwriters who are down on their luck, but dream of becoming a popular singing duo in the mold of Simon and Garfunkel. Though they are poorly received at a local open mic night, agent Marty Freed (Weston) offers to book them as lounge singers in a hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco, explaining that the last act quit due to political unrest in the area. Nearly broke, both single and without any better options, Lyle and Chuck decide to take the gig.
Mikey and Nicky, 1h59
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Action, Crime
Themes Mafia films, Gangster films
Actors Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty, Carol Grace, Reuben Greene, William Hickey
Rating73% 3.692943.692943.692943.692943.69294
When Nicky calls Mikey yet again to bail him out of trouble—this time a contract on his life for money he stole from his mob boss—Mikey, as always, shows up to help. Overcoming the obstacles of Nicky's paranoia and blind fear, Mikey gets him out of the hotel where he has holed up, and starts to help him plan his escape, but Nicky keeps changing the plan, and a hit man is hot on their trail. As they try to make their escape, the two friends have to confront issues of betrayal, regret, and the value of friendship versus self-preservation.
The Heartbreak Kid, 1h46
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romantic comedy, Romance
Themes Films about religion, Children's films
Actors Charles Grodin, Cybill Shepherd, Jeannie Berlin, Eddie Albert, Audra Lindley, Augusta Dabney
Rating69% 3.4959253.4959253.4959253.4959253.495925
Lenny Cantrow, un vendeur d'articles de sport vient de se marier avec Lila Kolodny. Il rencontre et tombe amoureux de Kelly alors qu'il est en lune de miel. À peine arrivé à l'hôtel, Lenny réalise que tout ce que dit ou fait Lila l'agace. Un jour qu'il se promène seul sur la plage, il fait la connaissance de la très belle Kelly. Cette rencontre confirme ses craintes : il n'aime pas son épouse... Lenny veut divorcer de sa femme pour séduire Kelly, mais il se heurte au père de celle-ci.
A New Leaf
A New Leaf (1971)
, 1h42
Directed by Elaine May
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Romantic comedy, Romance
Actors Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, George Rose, James Coco, Graham Jarvis
Rating72% 3.6474753.6474753.6474753.6474753.647475
Henry Graham, a playboy from a wealthy patrician family, has run through his entire inheritance and is completely unequipped to provide for himself. His childhood guardian, Uncle Harry, refuses to give him a dime. Henry considers but is unwilling to exercise the only solution he can think of—suicide. At the suggestion of his valet Harold, Henry decides the only other viable option open to him: marrying into wealth. With a $50,000 loan from Uncle Harry to tide him over, Henry has just six weeks to find a rich bride and repay the money, otherwise he must forfeit all of his property to his uncle.

Scriptwriter

Down to Earth, 1h27
Directed by Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Origin USA
Genres Science fiction, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Themes Films about religion
Actors Regina King, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Jennifer Coolidge, Greg Germann
Rating54% 2.701052.701052.701052.701052.70105
Lance Barton (Chris Rock) is a struggling comedian who is quite funny and confident in his personality, but is unable to bring his talent across in front of an audience. After being booed off stage one night he hears about an opportunity from his manager, Whitney Daniels (Frankie Faison), at the Apollo Theater, which is having a goodbye show due to its imminent closing. He is hoping to get a chance to prove himself in front of a real audience, when on his way home riding a bike Lance is distracted by Sontee Jenkins (Regina King). Not paying attention, he is hit by a semi truck and is instantly killed. Because of this, Lance is brought up to Heaven where he meets the angels, King (Chazz Palminteri) and Keyes (Eugene Levy) who reveal that Lance has died before his time, and can help Lance return to Earth.