Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American comedian, film director, screenwriter, playwright, and actor.She made her initial impact in the 1950s with her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May.
Elaine May (born April 21, 1932) is an American screenwriter, movie director, actress and comedian. She was known for being in an improvisational comedy with Mike Nichols called Nichols and May . She has been nominated twice for an Academy Award , for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Primary Colors (1998).
Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American comedian, film director, screenwriter, playwright, and actress. She made her initial impact in the 1950s with her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May.
- Early Years and Personal Life
- Stage Career
- Film Career
- Later Career
- Awards and Honours
- Further Reading
- External Links
May was born Elaine Iva Berlin on April 21, 1932, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Jewish parents, theater director and actor Jack Berlin and actress Ida (Aaron) Berlin.:39 As a child, May performed with her father in his traveling Yiddish theatercompany, which he took around the country. Her stage debut on the road was at the age of three, and she eventually played the character of a generic little boy named Benny. Because the troupe toured extensively, May had been in over 50 different schools by the time she was ten, having spent as little as a few weeks enrolled at any one time. May said she hated school and would spend her free time at home reading fairy tales and mythology.:331 Her father died when she was 11 years old, and then she and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where May later enrolled in Hollywood High School. She dropped out when she was fourteen years old. Two years later, aged sixteen, she married Marvin May,...
After her marriage to Marvin May, she studied acting with former Moscow Art Theatre coach Maria Ouspenskaya. She also held odd jobs during that period and tried to enroll in college. She learned, however, that colleges in California require a high school diploma to apply, which she did not have.:39 After finding out that the University of Chicagowas one of the few colleges that would accept students without diplomas, she set out with $7 and hitchhiked to Chicago. Soon after moving to Chicago in 1950, May began informally taking classes at the university by auditing, sitting in without enrolling. She nevertheless sometimes engaged in discussions with instructors. Mike Nichols, who was then an actor in the school's theatrical group, remembers her coming to his philosophy class, making "outrageous" comments, and leaving.:324 They learned about each other from friends, eventually being introduced after one of his stage shows...
May made her film writing and directing debut in 1971 with A New Leaf, a black comedy based on Jack Ritchie's short story The Green Heart. (Ritchie would later retitle the story A New Leaf.) The unconventional 'romance' starred Walter Matthau as a Manhattan bachelor faced with bankruptcy and May herself as the wealthy but nerdy botanist he cynically romances and marries in order to salvage his extravagant lifestyle. Director May originally submitted a 180-minute...
In addition to writing three of the films she directed, Elaine May received an Oscar nomination for updating the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan as Heaven Can Wait (1978). She contributed (uncredited) to the screenplay for the 1982 megahit Tootsie, notably the scenes involving the character played by Bill Murray. She also contributed to the screenplay for Dangerous Minds. May reunited with her former comic partner, Mike Nichols, for an American adaptation of T...
May has also acted in comedy films, including Enter Laughing (1967), directed by Carl Reiner, and Luv (1967), costarring Peter Falk and Jack Lemmon. The latter film was not well received by critics, although Lemmon said he enjoyed working alongside May: "She's the finest actress I've ever worked with," he said. "And I've never expressed an opinion about a leading lady before... I think Elaine is touched with genius. She approaches a scene like a director and a writer."...
In 2016, she came out of retirement to star in Woody Allen's television series Crisis in Six Scenes on Amazon, her first role since Allen's own Small Time Crooks. In 2018, May returned to Broadway after 60 years in a Lila Neugebauer-directed revival of Kenneth Lonergan's play The Waverly Gallery opposite Lucas Hedges, Joan Allen, and Michael Cera. The play ran at the John Golden Theatre, the same theatre where Nichols and May started almost 60 years ago. May received rapturous reviews for her performance as the gregarious, dementia-ridden elderly gallery owner Gladys Green, with many critics remarking that she was giving one of the most extraordinary performances they had ever seen onstage. The show received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, while May herself won for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance.She became the second oldest performer to have won a Tony Award for acting.
May has received recognition for her writing, with her first Writers Guild of America nomination coming in 1971 for her debut film, A New Leaf (which she directed and in which she co-starred). Further writing honours include an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, with Warren Beatty, and similarly that years' Writers Guild of America award for Heaven Can Wait (1978). Other writing awards include a Saturn Award for Best Writing with Warren Beatty in 1978 for the same movie, and a nomination for a WGA for The Birdcage (1996), as well as a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Primary Colors (1998), and Oscar and WGAnominations for the same movie. For her acting, her accolades include a nomination for a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a musical or comedy for A New Leaf (1971), and winning the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Small Time Crooks(2000). Nichols...Quart, Barbara Koenig (1988). "American Women Directors (Chapter 3)". Women Directors: The Emergence of a New Cinema. New York: Greenwood-Prager. pp. 37–51 and passim. ISBN 0313391106. Retrieved 31...Stephens, Chuck. "Chronicle of a Disappearance: Unjustly Omitted from Most Histories of Seventies American Filmmaking, Actor-writer-director Elaine May--and the Four Unforgettable Films She Somehow...Elaine May at IMDbElaine May at the Internet Broadway DatabaseElaine Berlin at the Internet Broadway DatabaseElaine May - Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group North America
Nichols and May was an American improvisational comedy duo act developed by Mike Nichols (1931–2014) and Elaine May (born 1932). Their three comedy albums reached the Billboard Top 40 between 1959 and 1962. Many comedians have cited them as key influences in modern comedy.
Jul 10, 2013 · Elaine May (born under the name Elaine Iva Berlin) is an American actress, comedian, film director, playwright, and screenwriter from Philadelphia. Her professional career started in the 1950s and is still ongoing. She has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
- Elaine Iva Berlin
- 5' 4" (1.63 m)
Rise to fame - in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May After that, she started 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
- 21 April 1932 Comment
- Elaine Iva Berlin
- 163 cm / 5 ft 5 in
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US