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Elaine May - Overview

Date of Birth: Apr 21, 1932    
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality: United States
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A true pioneer with a sardonic wit and keen insight into the human condition, Elaine May rose to prominence as one-half of an improvisational team, alongside future director Mike Nichols, before becoming a greatly revered writer-director-actor in her own right. After working together in the Chicago improv troupe The Compass Players, Nichols and May joined forces as a comedy team, performing in nightclubs and on stage and television, before dissolving the partnership to pursue separate interests. For May, that initially led to the theater, with efforts such as her play "Adaptation" receiving excellent notices. She soon turned her attention to film, with hilarious appearances in films like Rob Reiner's "Enter Laughing" (1967). Not long after, May wrote, directed and starred in the off-the-wall comedy "The New Leaf" (1971), co-starring Walter Matthau. As a director, she scored another triumph with the Neil Simon-scripted "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972), a quirky comedy that played like an inverse of pal Nichols' earlier seminal work "The Graduate" (1967). As a writer, Ma... Read More
Resumed screen acting career with role in Woody Allen's "Small Time Crooks"
Wrote the Broadway comedy "Taller Than a Dwarf"
Returned to Off-Broadway as playwright and star (with daughter Berlin) of "Power Plays"; also co-starred opposite Alan Arkin
Wrote "Primary Colors", directed by Nichols; earned second Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination
Scripted Nichols-directed "The Birdcage", an Americanization of the French farce "La Cage aux folles"
Wrote play, "Mr. Gogol and Mr. Preen", presented at the Mitzi E Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center
Acted with daughter Berlin in "In the Spirit", co-scripted by Berlin; film also reteamed her with Falk