Adam Richard Sandler (born September 9, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, 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), and voicing Dracula in Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015). 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).
Sandler has released five comedy albums in his career – They're All Gonna Laugh at You! (1993) and What the Hell Happened to Me? (1996) are both certified double-platinum. His novelty song, "The Chanukah Song", has been released in four different variations.
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. He regularly collaborates with actors Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon, Kevin James, and David Spade, as well as directors Dennis Dugan and Frank Coraci.
Sandler was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966, to Judith "Judy" (née Levine), a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler (1935-2003), an electrical engineer. His family is Jewish, and descends from Russian immigrants on both sides. He grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire after moving there at the age of six. He attended 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, having first taken 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) playing a grown man repeating grades 1–12 to earn back his father's respect and the right to inherit his father's multimillion-dollar hotel empire; the film received mixed reviews. 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).
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). He returned to more dramatic fare with Mike Binder's Reign Over Me (2007), a drama about a man who loses his entire family in 9/11 and rekindles a friendship with his old college roommate (Don Cheadle). He starred with Kevin James in the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), as a New York City fireman pretending to be gay to keep up an insurance scam so that his best friend's children can have benefits. Sandler headlined You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), a comedy about a Mossad agent who fakes his own death and moves to the United States to become a hair stylist. The film was 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 was directed by Happy Gilmore director Dennis Dugan.
"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."
Sandler starred along with Keri Russell and English comedian Russell Brand in Adam Shankman's fantasy film Bedtime Stories (2008), as a stressed hotel maintenance worker whose bedtime stories he reads to his niece and nephew begin to come true. It marked as Sandler's first family film and first film under the Walt Disney banner.
In 2009, Sandler starred in Judd Apatow's third directorial feature Funny People as a very successful stand up comedian who finds out he has a terminal illness and he takes a young inexperienced comic (Seth Rogen) under his wing. Filming began in October 2008 and finished in January 2009. The film was released on July 31, 2009. At one point, Sandler was in talks to star in Quentin Tarantino's World War II film Inglourious Basterds, which he confirmed, but he did not appear in it due to a scheduling conflict with Funny People. Following the release of Funny People, it, along with Punch-Drunk Love were cited in the June 2010 announcement that Sandler was one of 135 people (including 20 actors) invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sandler appeared in Grown Ups, teaming up with Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade (all of whom have worked with Sandler before) for a film about five best friends from high school who reunite 30 years later on the July 4 weekend. Other costars include Salma Hayek (as Sandler's wife), Maria Bello (as James' wife), and fellow SNL alumna Maya Rudolph (as Rock's wife), Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, and Norm Macdonald. Sandler and Dickie Roberts scribe Fred Wolf wrote the script and Dennis Dugan directed the film.
Sandler starred with Jennifer Aniston in the 2011 romantic comedy film Just Go with It, as a plastic surgeon who asks his office manager, played by Aniston, to pose as his wife, in order to prove his honesty to his much younger girlfriend, played by Brooklyn Decker. It was written by Allan Loeb and Tim Dowling and directed by Dennis Dugan. Sandler also voiced a capuchin monkey in Kevin James' Zookeeper, released on July 8, 2011. In 2012, he starred in That's My Boy, as a man who fathered a son (Andy Samberg) with his teacher in high school. Thirty years later, he visits his son on the eve of his wedding and clashes with the bride (Leighton Meester).
In 2013, he guest starred in the Disney Channel Original Series Jessie as himself. He and Cameron Boyce previously worked together in Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. The episode is titled "Punched Dumped Love", referring to, Punch-Drunk Love. Sandler co-starred in the drama film Men, Women & Children (2014), directed by Jason Reitman.
In 2015, Sandler starred in the Western comedy film The Ridiculous 6, distributed by Netflix. Despite being universally panned by critics, it was announced on January 6, 2015 by Netflix that the film had been viewed more times in 30 days than any other movie in Netflix history.
Sandler's recent comedy films, including Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, have received strongly negative reviews. In reviewing the latter, critic Mark Olsen of The Los Angeles Times remarked that Sandler had become the antithesis of Judd Apatow; he was instead "the white Tyler Perry: smart enough to know better, savvy enough to do it anyway, lazy enough not to care."
Happy Madison Productions
Sandler formed his film production company, Happy Madison Productions, in 1999, first producing fellow SNL alumnus Rob Schneider's film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. The company has produced all of Sandler's subsequent films to date, except Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish. Reign Over Me and Funny People were produced by Happy Madison but under the subsidiary label "Madison 23". The majority of the company's films have received negative reviews from critics, with three considered to be among the worst ever made yet most have performed well at box office.
Sandler is known for consistently working with a core group of friends and associates through Happy Madison, frequently casting fellow SNL performers in various roles in his films. He and his company produced SNL contemporary Schneider's vehicles Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999), The Animal (2001), The Hot Chick (2002), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), and The Benchwarmers (2006), with Sandler making cameo appearances in the middle three. Meanwhile, Schneider has appeared in cameo roles in Sandler films The Waterboy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Click, The Longest Yard, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Bedtime Stories. Schneider had larger roles in Sandler films Big Daddy, 50 First Dates, Eight Crazy Nights, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and Grown Ups.
The company produced David Spade's Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and The Benchwarmers, which also featured Schneider. Spade additionally made a cameo appearance in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and had a prominent supporting role in Grown Ups. Sandler played a special cameo audience member in an episode of The Showbiz Show with David Spade. SNL contemporary Kevin Nealon has appeared in eleven Happy Madison productions or Sandler films, including Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, Joe Dirt, Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, Grandma's Boy, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Just Go With It, Blended, and the Dana Carvey vehicle, The Master of Disguise.
His company also produced Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the first starring vehicle for Kevin James, who has co-starred with Sandler in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Grown Ups, and Pixels, and made a cameo appearance in You Don't Mess with the Zohan. The company also produced James' second starring vehicle Zookeeper.
He appeared as the featured guest on the final episode of John McEnroe's eponymous CNBC talk show, airing in late 2004. McEnroe appeared as himself in three of Sandler's films (Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, and You Don't Mess with the Zohan).
Others who frequently appear in Sandler films include Steve Buscemi, Chris Rock, John Turturro, Jon Lovitz, Clint Howard, Norm Macdonald, Nick Swardson, and longtime friends Allen Covert, Peter Dante, and Jonathan Loughran. Covert starred in his first leading role in Grandma's Boy, also produced by Happy Madison productions.
In 2014, Netflix announced a four-movie deal with Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions.
On June 22, 2003, Sandler married actress Jacqueline Titone. Titone converted to Sandler's religion, Judaism, in 2000. The couple has two daughters: Sadie (born 2006) and Sunny (born 2008).
Political and charitable donations
In 2007, Sandler made a $1 million donation to the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown, Manchester, New Hampshire. The same year, he donated $2,100 to former New York City Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.
- Going Overboard (1989)
- Shakes the Clown (1991)
- Coneheads (1993)
- Airheads (1994)
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Billy Madison (1995)
- Happy Gilmore (1996)
- Bulletproof (1996)
- The Wedding Singer (1998)
- Dirty Work (1998)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- Big Daddy (1999)
- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)
- Little Nicky (2000)
- The Animal (2001)
- Mr. Deeds (2002)
- Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
- Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
- The Hot Chick (2002)
- Anger Management (2003)
- Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003)
- 50 First Dates (2004)
- Spanglish (2004)
- The Longest Yard (2005)
- Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)
- Click (2006)
- Reign Over Me (2007)
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
- You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)
- Bedtime Stories (2008)
- Funny People (2009)
- Grown Ups (2010)
- Just Go with It (2011)
- Zookeeper (2011)
- Jack and Jill (2011)
- That's My Boy (2012)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- Grown Ups 2 (2013)
- Blended (2014)
- Men, Women & Children (2014)
- The Cobbler (2014)
- Top Five (2014)
- Pixels (2015)
- I Am Chris Farley (2015)
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
- The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
- The Do-Over (2016)
- Studio albums
|1993||They're All Gonna Laugh at You!||2× Platinum|
|1996||What the Hell Happened to Me?||2× Platinum|
|1997||What's Your Name?||Gold|
|1999||Stan and Judy's Kid||Gold|