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Adam Richard Sandler (born September 9, 1966) is an American comedian, actor, musician, screenwriter, and film producer. After becoming a popular Saturday Night Live cast member, he went on to star in several $100 million Hollywood feature films. Though he is best known for his comedic roles, such as in the films Billy Madison (1995), Happy Gilmore (1996), and Big Daddy (1999), he has also had success in romantic and dramatic roles, such as in the films Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Spanglish (2004), and Reign Over Me (2007). Sandler is also known by his nickname "The Sand Man."
Sandler was born in Brooklyn, New York to Judy, a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler, an electrical engineer. He had a Jewish upbringing. His family moved to Manchester, NH when he was five. There, he attended Manchester Central High School. He found he was a natural comic. He nurtured his talent while at New York University (graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1991 ) by performing regularly in clubs and at universities. Later in his career, he would often draw on his earliest memories in his comedy and movies. The song "Lunchlady Land" is dedicated to the lunchlady at Central High School. In the movie Click, Sandler goes to Lake Winnipesaukee, a lake in New Hampshire where he went to summer camp. He also makes reference to the lake in his song "The Thanksgiving Song."
In the mid to late 1980s, Sandler played Theo Huxtable's friend Smitty on The Cosby Show (1987-1988). He was a performer for the MTV game show Remote Control, on which he made appearances as the characters "Trivia Delinquent" or "Stud Boy". Sandler started performing in comedy clubs early on, taking the stage at his brother's urging when he was only 17. He was then discovered by comedian Dennis Miller, who caught Sandler's act in Los Angeles. Miller immediately recommended him to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. Sandler was hired as a writer for SNL in 1990 and became a featured player the following year, quickly making a name for himself by performing amusing original songs on the show, including "The Chanukah Song". He left the show in 1995 to focus on his acting career.
Sandler's first successful starring role was in 1989 when he starred in the movie Going Overboard. In 1995 he starred in Billy Madison, in which he plays a grown man repeating grades 1-12 to earn his father's respect back, along with the right to inherit his father's multi-million-dollar hotel empire. He followed this movie up with other financially successful comedies such as Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Wedding Singer (1998). He was initially cast in the bachelor-party-themed comedy/thriller Very Bad Things (1998), but had to back out due to his involvement in The Waterboy (1998), one of his first hits.
Although most of his earlier films were almost universally despised by movie critics, many of his recent films starting with Punch-Drunk Love (2002) have received almost uniformly positive reviews, leading many movie critics to believe that Sandler possesses considerable acting ability that they believed had been previously wasted on poorly written scripts and characters with no development. Audiences have remained faithful to Sandler's slapstick humor to the tune of $100-million-plus grossing movies. Sandler has moved outside the genre of goofball humor to take on more serious parts such as the aforementioned Punch-Drunk Love (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe), and Spanglish (2004). He also plays a loving father figure in Big Daddy (1999). Ironically, during filming, he met Jacqueline Samantha Titone -- his future wife and mother of his daughter. Jackie was cast as the charming waitress from The Blarney Stone Bar.
At one point, Sandler was considered for the part that went to Jamie Foxx in Collateral (2004). He also was one of the finalists along with Jim Carrey and Johnny Depp for the role of Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), but Depp in the end got the role. He returned to more dramatic fare with Mike Binder's Reign Over Me (2007), a drama about a man who lost his entire family in 9/11 and rekindles a friendship with his old college roommate (played by Don Cheadle). Most recently, he starred in the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), where he stars along side Kevin James as a New York City fireman pretending to be gay keep up an insurance scam, so his best friends children can have benefits. His next comedy will be You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) a film written by Sandler, The 40-Year-Old Virgin writer-director Judd Apatow (who was an old roommate of Sandler's when both were starting out), and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog creator Robert Smigel and being directed by Happy Gilmore director Dennis Dugan about a Mossad agent who fakes his own death and moves to the United States to become a hair stylist,. He will also be working on Bedtime Stories (2008), a fantasy film being directed by Bringing Down the House director Adam Shankman about a stressed real estate developer whose bedtime stories he reads to his niece and nephew begin to come true, which will mark Sandler's first family film and first film under the Walt Disney banner. Sandler has also been long-rumored to costar with Michael Madsen in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming World War II saga Inglorious Bastards.
In June, 2007, it was announced that his production company, Happy Madison, had made a preemptive acquisition for Mitch Albom's screenwriting debut.
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