Adam Sandler's Path to Comedy Supremacy
Born on September 9, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York, Adam Sandler realized he had a knack for comedy at a very early age. His family relocated to New Hampshire when he was just five years old, but he returned to New York to attend NYU after high school. While attending college, he decided to pursue his passion for comedy and began working at local comedy clubs.
He also was cast in a recurring television role as a friend of teenager Theo Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" from 1987 to 1988. He also made some guest appearances on the MTV game show "Remote Control," playing a juvenile delinquent, among other characters. He continued to do comedy club shows while playing these bit television parts.
Comedian Dennis Miller happened to be in the audience one night when Sandler took the stage. He enjoyed his act and recommended him to Lorne Michaels, the erstwhile producer of the NBC staple "Saturday Night Live." Michaels took a meeting with Sandler and hired him to work as a staff writer in 1990.
After working for a full season as a writer, Sandler transitioned into performing. He was an instant success with fans, who loved the new characters he introduced to the show. Among them were Opera Man, who sang everything in falsetto, Canteen Boy, an innocent Boy Scout whose troop leader tries to seduce him, and Cajun Man, a mainstay on the "Weekend Update" segment of the show.
While on "Saturday Night Live," Sandler did a few side projects during the summer hiatus. He acted in "Airheads" with Steve Buscemi and was the featured player in "Billy Madison," which did well despite getting horrid reviews.
Sandler would later say that in 1995 both he and Chris Farley were fired from "Saturday Night Live" by NBC. This might seem like a devastating blow to two comedians who were still relatively new to the business. It didn't stop Sandler, however. He had some momentum from the zany "Billy Madison" and put it to good use, starring in and producing a string of comedies after being fired.
Both "Bulletproof" and "Happy Gilmore" followed the "Billy Madison" path; they were given poor reviews despite doing well at the box office. Sandler began to amass a legion of fans that followed him from SNL to the big screen. These fans saw all of his movies despite the reviews, which gave Sandler enough clout to continue making films.
In 1998, Sandler finally got good reviews and good box office receipts with "The Wedding Singer," a romantic comedy costarring Drew Barrymore. He would later duplicate that success with Barrymore in 2004's "50 First Dates."
In 1999, Sandler appeared in the blockbuster "Big Daddy." Not only was it his biggest success up till that point, it was also where he would meet Jackie Titone, an aspiring actress with a bit part as a waitress. Sandler and Titone became romantically involved and married in 2003, with his dog Meatball serving as his best man. They have two daughters together.
By 2002, Sandler had several more hits under his belt, such as "The Animal," and he wanted to branch out as an actor. He took the role of Barry Egan in "Punch Drunk Love" opposite Emily Watson. It was completely against what had become his stock character of a child trapped in an adult's body. Though the film was critically acclaimed and Sandler got a Golden Globe nomination, it did not do well at the multiplexes.
Undeterred, he would go on to do a few more dramatic roles, beginning with 2004's "Spanglish." Although the film is very funny, it is also dramatic and allowed Sandler to flex his acting muscles. After this, he did a few broad comedies, such as a remake of "The Longest Yard" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," before returning to drama with "Funny People," costarring Seth Rogen.
While acting, Sandler also continued honing the writing skills he developed as a staff writer on "Saturday Night Live." He wrote or cowrote "Jack and Jill," "Grown-Ups" and "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," to name a few.
Sandler also owns a production company, called Happy Madison, a play on his films "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison." He continues to achieve great success and has several upcoming films. He was honored on February 1, 2011 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of his wife, daughters and several costars from previous films. That star on the Walk of Fame may tarnish, but Sandler's star is shining as bright as ever after more than 20 years in the industry.