- Adam Richard Sandler
September 09, 1966 (age 55)
- Screenwriter, Film Producer, Actor, Television Producer
- Jackie Sandler
- Stanley Sandler, Judy Sandler
Adam Richard Sandler (born September 9, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, entrepreneur, film producer, and musician. After becoming a Saturday Night Live cast member, Sandler went on to star in many Hollywood feature films that combined have grossed over $2 billion at the box office. He is best known for his comedic roles, such as in the films Billy Madison (1995), the sports comedies Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Waterboy (1998), the romantic comedy The Wedding Singer (1998), Big Daddy (1999), and Mr. Deeds (2002), though he has ventured into more dramatic territory with his roles in Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Spanglish (2004), Reign Over Me (2007), and Funny People (2009). In 1999, Sandler founded Happy Madison Productions, a film and television production company that has produced numerous films and developed the 2007 television sitcom series Rules of Engagement.
Sandler was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966, to Judy, a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler, an electrical engineer. His family is Jewish, and descends from Russian immigrants on both sides. He grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, attending Manchester Central High School. Sandler graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1988.
Early in his career, Sandler played Theo Huxtable's friend, Smitty in The Cosby Show and a stud boy or Trivia Delinquent in the MTV game show Remote Control. After his film debut Going Overboard in 1989, Sandler performed in comedy clubs, taking the stage at his brother's urging when he was 17. He was discovered by comedian Dennis Miller, who caught Sandler's act in Los Angeles and 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, making a name for himself by performing amusing original songs on the show, including "The Thanksgiving Song" and "The Chanukah Song". Sandler told Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show that NBC fired him and Chris Farley from the show in 1995.
In 1993, Adam Sandler appeared in the film Coneheads with Chris Farley, David Spade, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, and Jane Curtin. In 1994, he co-starred in Airheads with Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi. He starred in Billy Madison (1995) as a grown, though uneducated, man repeating grades 1–12 to earn back his father's respect, along with the right to inherit his father's multi-million-dollar hotel empire. In At the Movies, Siskel and Ebert gave the film a very bad review; Ebert said of Sandler "...Not an attractive screen presence... he might have a career as a villain or a fall guy or the butt of a joke, but as the protagonist his problem is he creates the fingernails on the blackboard" effect, with Siskel adding "...you don't have a good motivation for the character's behavior". He followed this film with Bulletproof (1996), and the financially successful comedies 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 his earliest films did not receive critical praise, he started to receive more positive reviews, beginning with Punch-Drunk Love in 2002. Roger Ebert's review of Punch-Drunk Love concluded that Sandler had been wasted in earlier films with poorly written scripts and characters with no development. Sandler has moved outside the genre of slapstick comedy to take on more serious parts such as the aforementioned Punch-Drunk Love (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe), Spanglish (2004) and Reign Over Me (2007). He played a loving father figure in Big Daddy (1999). During filming, he met Jacqueline Samantha Titone—his future wife and mother of his two daughters—who was cast as the waitress from The Blarney Stone Bar.
"Like Will Ferrell, Sandler has layers of tenderness under layers of irony under layers of tenderness—plus a floating anger like Jupiter’s great red spot," wrote David Edelstein of New York magazine in a review of You Don't Mess with the Zohan. "Some performers become stars because we can read them instantly, others—like Sandler—because we never tire of trying to get a fix on them."
On June 22, 2003, Sandler married actress Jacqueline Samantha Titone. Titone converted to Sandler's religion, Judaism, in 2000. The couple has two daughters: Sadie Madison Sandler (born 2006) and Sunny Madeline Sandler (born 2008). Sandler lives with his family in Los Angeles, but also owns homes in New York City and Florida.