Melvin Kaminsky lives. [slideshow]


Melvin Kaminsky (born June 28, 1926) aka Mel Brooks was in fine fettle interviewed at age 97 by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz during the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival in its 15th annual staging in Hollywood, California.

He explained to an audience gathered at TCL Chinese Theatre for a screening of “Spaceballs” (1987) that two things got him going in show business. The first was his imitation of a screeching cat — Brooks then made a sound so far from “meow” that everyone present agreed he was the go-to screeching-cat guy; the other was his imitation of Hitler, and to demonstrate that, he pulled a little black mustache from his pocket, stuck it on his upper lip and started babbling German sounds. He told a story about his luncheon with Alfred Hitchcock in which he (Mel Brooks) ate a grilled cheese sandwich and Hitch devoured a nine-course meal. He described a young fan telling him recently about having just seen “Star Wars”; the kid liked it, but said it wasn’t nearly as funny as “Space Balls.”

Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM

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