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). Several of his movies, most notably the widely panned Jack and Jill, have gained harsh criticism, culminating in a shared second place in the number of Raspberry Awards (3) and Raspberry Award nominations (11), in both cases second only to Sylvester Stallone. He has ventured into more dramatic territory with his roles in Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Spanglish (2004), Reign Over Me (2007), Funny People (2009) and The Meyerowitz Stories (2017).
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. In 1999, Sandler founded Happy Madison Productions.
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. As a teen, Sandler was in BBYO, a popular Jewish youth group. 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 the 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 negative 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) and 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 alongside friend Kevin James in the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), and headlined You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008). The film was written by Sandler, Judd Apatow, and Robert Smigel, it was directed by Dennis Dugan.
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. The film was released on July 31, 2009. 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 starred with Jennifer Aniston in the 2011 romantic comedy film Just Go with It. 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.
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". Sandler co-starred in the drama film Men, Women & Children (2014), directed by Jason Reitman. He was considered for the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy but Bradley Cooper was cast instead.
In 2015, Sandler starred in the Western comedy film The Ridiculous 6, distributed by Netflix. Despite being universally panned by critics, On January 6, 2016, it was announced 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 most of Sandler's subsequent films to date. 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.
In 2014, Netflix announced a four-movie deal with Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions.
Sandler has been referenced multiple times in various media, including in the TV shows The Simpsons in the episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in Family Guy in the episode "Stew-Roids", and in South Park in the episode "You're Getting Old". He was also referenced in the video game Half-Life: Opposing Force.
On June 22, 2003, Sandler married actress Jacqueline Titone. Titone had converted to Sandler's religion, Judaism, in 2000. She makes frequent appearances in her husband's Happy Madison films. The couple have two daughters: Sadie (born 2006) and Sunny (born 2008).
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.
This is a partial list of Sandler's film work. For the complete list, see Adam Sandler filmography.
- 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)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- Big Daddy (1999)
- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)
- Little Nicky (2000)
- The Animal (2001)
- Mr. Deeds (2002)
- Punch-Drunk Love (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)
- Jack and Jill (2011)
- That's My Boy (2012)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- Grown Ups 2 (2013)
- Blended (2014)
- Men, Women & Children (2014)
- Pixels (2015)
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
- The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
- The Do-Over (2016)
- Sandy Wexler (2017)
- The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
- Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018)
- 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|
Awards and nominations