6. A Hero Who Downplayed His Heroism
The time finally came for Mel Brooks to return to civilian life and resume his quest to become a professional funnyman. After the war, he was discharged from the Army and went back to entertainment. He played drums and pianos in Borscht Belt resorts, and gradually worked his way to become a standup comic. He eventually made his way into the then-new medium of television and wrote for programs such as The Show of Shows and The Admiral Broadway Revue. From there, his career expanded and he became an actor, producer, and director. He eventually became one of the most successful comic movie directors of all time. His long resume of hits includes The Producers (1967), Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein (1974), Spaceballs (1981), and Robin Hood, Men in Tights (1993).
Brooks is one of the few performers to have earned an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy. Like most WWII veterans, this comedy star never viewed himself as a hero and went out of his way to downplay his wartime experience. He simply saw himself as one of the many millions from his generation who had answered their country’s call. They donned uniforms and did their part, then returned home, happy to be alive. However, decades after the war, Brooks took one last shot at the Third Reich with his 1967 Hollywood hit, The Producers, which satirized Hitler and the Nazis.