Max Brooks

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Max Brooks
Max Brooks at BookExpo (15957).jpg
Brooks at BookExpo in 2019
Born (1972-05-22) May 22, 1972 (age 50)
New York City, U.S.
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • author
Michelle Kholos
(m. 2003)
Writing career
GenreHumor, horror

Maximillian Michael Brooks[1][2] (born May 22, 1972)[1] is an American actor and author. He is the son of comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft. Much of Brooks's writing focuses on zombie stories. He is a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, New York.[3]

Early life[edit]

Brooks was born on May 22, 1972, in Manhattan, New York City. He is the son of actress Anne Bancroft and actor, director, producer, and writer Mel Brooks.[4] His father is Jewish, while his mother was an Italian-American Catholic.[5][6]

Brooks is dyslexic[7] and recalled that during the time in which he was growing up:

...they didn't even call it a disability back then; it was just "laziness," "goofing off," "you're not trying hard enough." "You can do it but you don't want to do it" — that was a big one of my teachers. And my mother, one of the greatest, most successful actresses of her day, gave up her career, put her career on the shelf, to raise me, to be my educational advocate and to teach herself about dyslexia. ... She took, every year, all of my school books that I had to read to the Institute for the Blind and had them all read onto audio cassette so I could listen to my reading list. And if I hadn't been able to do that, I wouldn't have graduated high school. I can literally say that not only did my mother give me my life, she saved my life.

— NPR Fresh Air (2017)[8]

Brooks attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. He studied at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history. He also attended graduate school, studying film at American University in Washington, D.C.[7]



From 2001 to 2003, Brooks was a member of the writing team at Saturday Night Live.[9]

In 2003, Brooks wrote his first book, The Zombie Survival Guide, a satirical survival manual about zombies. In 2006, Brooks wrote the follow-up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, a novel on the same subject, set in the ten years following a zombie apocalypse. Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights, and Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment, produced the film. In the October 2006 issue of Fangoria Magazine, Brooks stated that he would not be writing the screenplay for the motion picture, as he felt he was not an accomplished enough screenwriter to "do it right" (J. Michael Straczynski wrote the first version of the screenplay).[10]

Brooks wrote the introduction for the hardcover collected edition of Dynamite Entertainment's zombie miniseries Raise the Dead, released in 2007.[11]

Max Brooks with father Mel in 2010

In 2010, Brooks wrote the IDW comic book mini-series G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds.[12]

In 2012, he published Closure, Limited and Other Zombie Tales, featuring the story of that name from The New Dead, along with three other short stories set in the World War Z universe.[13]

In 2014, Broadway Books published The Harlem Hellfighters, a graphic novel which portrays a fictionalized account of the African American 369th Infantry Regiment's experiences in World War I, written by Brooks and illustrated by Caanan White.[14] Sony Pictures has purchased the rights to create a film of the novel, with Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter producing on behalf of Overbrook Entertainment.[15]

He wrote the story for the 2016 film The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon.[16]

In 2016, Brooks was invited to MineCon and announced that he was working on a new novel based on Minecraft,[17] titled Minecraft: The Island, and in 2021, he published the sequel, Minecraft: The Mountain.[18]

In August 2019, Brooks' announced a new book, entitled Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, about the cryptid Bigfoot.[19] It was released on June 16, 2020.[20]

Acting and voice-over work[edit]

Brooks has a number of other creative credits. As an actor, he has been seen in Roseanne, To Be or Not to Be, Pacific Blue, and 7th Heaven. He also has a career voicing animation: his voice has been featured in the animated shows Batman Beyond, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Justice League, and All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series. During the start of the 3rd season of Lost Tapes, he was cast as himself in the zombie episode, telling the audience about how zombies come to be. He also appeared on Spike TV series Deadliest Warrior, in which he represented the zombie team in the "Vampires vs. Zombies" episode, as one of the Zombie experts along with Matt Mogk, founder of the Zombie Research Society.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Brooks has been married to playwright Michelle Kholos since 2003. They have one son, Henry Michael Brooks (born March 2005), and live in Venice, California.[4] In October 2020, Brooks and his son appeared in a short video featuring Mel Brooks making his first political video at age 94 to endorse Joe Biden for president.[22]


Year Title Role Notes
1983 To Be or Not to Be Rifka's Son Film
1992 The Public Eye Teen at Thompson Street Film
Roseanne Snarky Customer Episode: "Terms of Estrangement: Part 1"
1997 Pacific Blue Marty Rosen Episode: "Avenging Angel"
1999 7th Heaven Waiter Episode: "It Happened One Night"
Melrose Place Messenger Episode: "How Amanda Got Her Groove Back"
The Wild Thornberrys Lead Dog Voice, episode: "Polar Opposites"
2000 Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles Lt. Bernstein Voice, episode: "Swarm"
Godzilla: The Series Uncredited voice Episode: "Underground Movement"
Batman Beyond Howard Groote, Drew Voice, 6 episodes
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Tech #2, Ranger #2, Punk-Goon #2 Voice, 2 episodes
2001 Justice League Howie Voice, 2 episodes
2004 Seen Short film
2010 Satan Hates You Reporter Film
Lost Tapes Himself Episode: "Zombies"





  1. ^ a b Shelley, Peter (2017). Anne Bancroft: The Life and Work. McFarland & Company. p. 102. ISBN 978-1476662428.
  2. ^ "Anne Bancroft, Stage and Film Star in Voracious and Vulnerable Roles, Dies at 73". The New York Times. June 7, 2005. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  3. ^ "Max Brooks". Modern War Institute. April 7, 2016. Archived from the original on February 16, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Brodesser-Akner, Taffy (June 21, 2013). "Max Brooks Is Not Kidding About the Zombie Apocalypse". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  5. ^ Belth, Alex (February 16, 2014). "Mel Brooks Is Always Funny and Often Wise in This 1975 Playboy Interview". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Gluck, Robert (August 12, 2012). "The cinematic Zionism of Mel Brooks". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Glader, Sue. "Max Brooks, Author". The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Archived from the original on January 7, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Novelist Max Brooks On Doomsday, Dyslexia And Growing Up With Hollywood Parents". NPR. August 15, 2017. Archived from the original on March 11, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  9. ^ Sackman, Jack (February 24, 2016). "10 People you didn't know were writers on SNL". Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Kaye, Don (October 2006). "'World War Z': The gore to end all gores". Fangoria Magazine. No. 257. p. 12. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Raise the Dead series collected in hardcover, with foreword by Max Brooks". Comic Book Resources. August 10, 2007.
  12. ^ Manning, Shaun (April 1, 2010). "Brooks wins Hearts and Minds". Comic Book Resources.
  13. ^ "Max Brooks Closure, Limited and Other Zombie Tales review". Horror Novel Reviews. December 4, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Lo Wang, Hansi (April 1, 2014). "The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting racism in the trenches of WWI". NPR (blog). Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  15. ^ Ford, Rebecca (March 7, 2014). "Sony nabs Max Brooks' WWI graphic novel The Harlem Hellfighters". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  16. ^ Livingston, Michael (June 7, 2017). "Medieval Matters: The Great Wall, white saviors, and lizard dogs from space". Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Davies, Marsh (September 24, 2016). "Max Brooks is writing a Minecraft novel! Oh yes!". Mojang. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  18. ^ Ackerman, Dan (March 12, 2021). "CNET Book Club: Max Brooks on his new Minecraft novel, The Mountain". CNET. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  19. ^ Squires, John (August 29, 2019). "World War Z writer Max Brooks returning with sasquatch massacre novel Devolution". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  20. ^ Brooks, Max (2020). Devolution by Max Brooks. Penguin / Random House. new books. ISBN 9781984826787. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  21. ^ "Deadliest Warrior". Comic-Con 2011 Panel. Episode 300a. July 22, 2011. Spike. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Lauren M. Johnson (October 21, 2020). "The legendary Mel Brooks takes to social media to share his support of Joe Biden". CNN. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  23. ^ Townsend, Allie (July 26, 2010). "Q&A: Zombie-Survival Expert Max Brooks". Time. Archived from the original on July 28, 2010.
  24. ^ Max Brooks discusses "The Harlem Hellfighters," World War I and his own life on the 7th Avenue Project radio show

External links[edit]