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Elaine May

Director + Screenwriter and Actress
Born Apr 21, 1932

Elaine May is an American film director, screenwriter and actress. She achieved her greatest fame in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines in partnership with Mike Nichols. She is a two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and also the mother of Oscar nominee Jeannie Berlin.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Elaine May.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Elaine May.


1932 Birth Born on April 21, 1932.


1949 17 Years Old She married Marvin May in the late 1940s and gave birth to a daughter, actress-director-screenwriter Jeannie Berlin (who is known by her mother's maiden name) in 1949 at age 17; the couple later divorced.
1950 18 Years Old In 1950, May attended the University of Chicago and Playwrights Theatre in Chicago.


1953 21 Years Old In 1953, she became a member of the improvisational theatre group The Compass Players, founded by Paul Sills and David Shepherd, which later became The Second City.
1957 25 Years Old She remained a member until 1957. … Read More
1960 28 Years Old In 1960, they made their Broadway debut with An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May; the original-cast album won the Grammy Award in 1962 for Best Comedy Performance. … Read More


1962 30 Years Old In 1962, she married lyricist Sheldon Harnick, best known for his work in Fiddler On The Roof. … Read More
1971 39 Years Old May made her film writing and directing debut in 1971 with A New Leaf, a screwball comedy based on Jack Ritchie's The Green Heart. (Ritchie would later retitle the story after A New Leaf.) The film starred Walter Matthau and May in the lead roles. … Read More


1982 50 Years Old May and Rubinfine remained married until his death in 1982, though they lived separately in later years. … Read More


1996 64 Years Old Elaine May received an Oscar nomination for updating Here Comes Mr. Jordan as Heaven Can Wait. May reunited with her former comic partner, Mike Nichols, for The Birdcage in 1996. … Read More
1997 65 Years Old May received her second Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay when she again worked with Nichols on Primary Colors in 1997. … Read More
2011 79 Years Old Most recently, she wrote the one-act play, George is Dead, which starred Marlo Thomas, and was performed on Broadway from 2011-12 as part of the anthology play, Relatively Speaking, directed by John Turturro.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_May.
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