People don’t realize just how talented James L. Brooks is.
The 70-year-old writer, producer and director — whose latest film, “How Do You Know,” starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and frequent collaborator Jack Nicholson, opens Friday — has had his hands in everything from “Big” to “The Critic” to “The Tracy Ullman Show.”
amNewYork takes a look at some of our favorite TV shows and movies with the JLB imprimatur.
‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
Brooks co-created the TV newsroom sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran from 1970-77 on CBS. The show won him five Emmys.
Spinning off of “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Lou Grant” took that sitcom’s surly producer and put him front and center as a city editor in this hour-long drama set in a fictional Los Angeles newspaper newsroom.
‘Terms of Endearment’
Brooks made his motion picture debut in 1983, writing, producing and directing this instant classic, which starred Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson and John Lithgow.
Brooks created this influential and hugely popular sitcom, which ran from 1978-83 on ABC and NBC. Brooks would win three Emmys for “Taxi,” which made stars of Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman and Christopher Lloyd.
Brooks’ 1987 follow-up to “Terms” was a scathing indictment on the state of the news media. “News,” starring Albert Brooks (no relation), William Hurt and Holly Hunter, was nominated for seven Oscars.
In 1987, Brooks was producing “The Tracey Ullman show,” where he hired a young cartoonist, Matt Groening, to create animated shorts. Groening came up with “The Simpsons,” which soon spun off into the record-setting TV show executive-produced by Brooks’ Gracie Films.
‘As Good As It Gets’
Brooks reunited with Nicholson on this quirky character study about an obsessive-compulsive writer and a struggling waitress (Helen Hunt).