Adam Sandler, known as Sandman to his friends, did not always dream of working as an actor or a comedian. His father Stanley worked as an electrical engineer and his mother Judy taught kindergarten. Born on September 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 long way from his old home, and the actor admits he had trouble fitting in with his classmates.
While attending Manchester Central High School, he became the class clown. Sandler found it was more fun to make his classmates laugh with him than with him. After graduating from high school, he attended New York University and began honing 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 struggled in his early days, it didn’t take Sandler long 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 from college, he landed a role on “Remote Control.” The show, which aired on MTV, gave him a chance to hone some of his humorous characters. Despite landing several roles, her big break came a few years later. Dennis Miller saw Sandler perform and recommended that Lorne Michaels watch his performance.
Michaels was so impressed by her talent that he gave her a job writing for “Saturday Night Live.” The show’s writers have the opportunity to write themselves in sketches and also to write sketches for other actors. Sandler slowly began to pitch a few ideas that made their way onto the show and eventually began writing sketches that showcased his own talents. He wrote several memorable characters and created songs that made it to the US charts, including “The Hanukkah Song.”
While still on the show, he starred in a handful of movies, including “Airheads” and “Mixed Nuts,” but it was “Billy Madison” who launched his film career. Playing a man sent back to elementary school, he won over a legion of fans with his proprietary brand of raunchy humor. The same year that “Billy Madison” landed in theaters, Michaels fired Sandler and several other “Saturday Night Live” actors.
Sandler didn’t let that stop him. “Billy Madison” became a cult classic and more than made up for its budget at the box office, and the studios took notice of the actor. He starred in seven more films before 2000, and many of those films were box office hits, such as “The Wedding Singer” and “Happy Gilmore.” Sandler signed on for the black comedy “Very Bad Things,” starring Christian Slater, but later stopped working on “The Waterboy.” His next big movie was “Big Daddy,” in which Sandler played 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 now the two are married with two children.
Despite a string of successful comedy films, Sandler wanted to venture into darker territory. His first break 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 lost those roles to Jamie Foxx and Johnny Depp. Although she appeared in “Reign Over Me” and some other dramas, she decided to go back to her roots.
Sandler is close friends with actor Kevin James (“Grownups”), and the two worked together in 2007 on “Now I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” The film starred the two men as firefighters who agree to marry for the benefits they make 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 dramatic comedy “Funny People.” The actor played an older comedian who begins working with a younger comic, played by Seth Rogen (“Knocked Up”), after learning that he is dying. The role led to an invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
While still starring in hit movies, 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 founded the Scary Madison label to produce horror movies like “The Shortcut.” Sandler stars 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 loves producing films and that fans can expect to see more of him.