Elaine May

From Academic Kids

Elaine May (b. Elaine Berlin April 21, 1932) is a U.S. writer, movie director, and performer. Together with Mike Nichols, she founded the trail-blazing comic troupe The Compass Players, which later became The Second City. The duo went on to create one of the most successful comedy acts of the day.

She was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Screenplay for the comedy Heaven Can Wait (which she co-wrote with the film's star Warren Beatty) and for her adaptation of Joe Klein's book Primary Colors.

She also wrote and directed the film Ishtar in 1987. Largely shot on location in the Middle East, the production was beset by internal difficulties, and advance publicity was so terrible that the picture never got off the ground, becoming one of the biggest cinematic failures of its day.

May has also written stage plays, including Adaptation, Not Enough Rope, Mr. Gogol and Mr. Preen, and the one-act play Hot Line. She also directed the Off-Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Adaptation/Next.

She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as a child she occasionally performed with her father, Jack Berlin, on stage; he was a Yiddish theatrical actor. In her mid-teens, she was married and divorced, and gave birth to her daughter Jeannie in 1949.

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