Adam Sandler, known as Sandman to his friends, didn’t always dream of working as an actor or a comedian. His father Stanley worked as an electrical engineer, and his mother Judy taught nursery school. Born on Sept. 9, 1966, in a Brooklyn hospital, the future actor only spent a few years in Brooklyn before his family decided to move. Manchester, NH, was a far cry from his former home, and the actor admits that he had trouble fitting in with his classmates.
While attending Manchester Central High School, he became the class clown. Sandler discovered that it was more fun making his classmates laugh with him instead of at him. After graduating high school, he attended New York University and started perfecting his craft at clubs around the city. In 1988, he finished classes at the Tisch School of the Arts and launched his career.
Unlike many other actors, who struggle in their early days, it didn’t take long for Sandler to find success. While still in college, he landed a major role on “The Cosby Show,” playing the best friend of one of the characters. After graduating college, he landed a role on “Remote Control.” The show, which aired on MTV, gave him the chance to perfect some of his humorous characters. Despite landing several roles, his big break came a few years later. Dennis Miller saw Sandler perform and recommended that Lorne Michaels watch his act.
Michaels was so impressed by his talent that he gave him a job writing for “Saturday Night Live.” Writers on the show have the chance to write themselves into sketches as well as write sketches for other actors. Sandler slowly began pitching a few ideas that made it onto the show, and he eventually started writing sketches that showcased his own talents. He wrote several memorable characters and created songs that charted in the United States, including “The Chanukah Song.”
While still on the show, he starred in a handful of films, including “Airheads” and “Mixed Nuts,” but it was “Billy Madison” that launched his film career. Starring as a man sent back to elementary school, he won over a legion of fans with his patented brand of raunchy humor. The same year that “Billy Madison” landed in theaters, Michaels fired Sandler and several other actors from “Saturday Night Live.”
Sandler didn’t let that slow him down. “Billy Madison” became a cult classic and more than earned back its budget at the box office, and studios took notice of the actor. He starred in seven more films leading up to 2000, and many of those films were box-office hits, including “The Wedding Singer” and “Happy Gilmore.” Sandler signed on for the dark comedy “Very Bad Things,” starring Christian Slater, but he later dropped out to work on “The Waterboy.” His next big film was “Big Daddy,” which featured Sandler playing a man forced to grow up. While working on the film, he met a young actress named Jackie Titone. The actress appeared in several of his films, and the two are now married with two children.
Despite a string of hit comedic films, Sandler wanted to venture into darker territory. His first chance came with the 2002 film “Punch-Drunk Love.” He received a Golden Globe nomination for his role, and many critics wondered if he would focus more on dramas. He auditioned for roles in “Collateral” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” but he lost those roles to Jamie Foxx and Johnny Depp. Though he appeared in “Reign Over Me” and a few other dramas, he decided to go back to his roots.
Sandler is close friends with actor Kevin James (“Grown Ups”), and the two worked together in 2007 on “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” The film starred the two men as firefighters who agree to marry for the benefits they get from their insurance company. The two also appeared together in “Grown Ups” and its sequel “Grown Ups 2,” and Sandler also appeared on James’ television show “The King of Queens.”
Sandler returned to comedy for “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” before starring in the dramedy “Funny People.” The actor played an older comedian who begins working with a younger comic, played by Seth Rogen (“Knocked Up”), after learning he’s dying. The role led to an invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
While still starring in hit films, Sandler decided to try working behind the camera. He launched Happy Madison Productions, which produced the films “The House Bunny” and “Here Comes the Boom,” among others. He also started the Scary Madison label to produce horror films such as “The Shortcut.” Sandler is starring in films that are in production for release in 2013 and 2014, showing that he loves working in front of the camera as much as he enjoys producing films and that fans can look forward to seeing more from him.