Elaine May

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Date of Birth April 21, 1932
Place of Birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Age 88 years old
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Elaine May

Elaine Iva May is an American comedian, film director, screenwriter, and actress. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. Her screenwriting has been twice nominated for the Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait and Primary Colors which was directed by Nichols. May is celebrated for the string of films she directed in the 1970s: her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred; her 1972 dark romantic comedy The Heartbreak Kid; and her 1976 gritty drama Mikey and Nicky, starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols.

Born: Elaine Iva Berlin, April 21, 1932, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Other names: Esther Dale
Occupation: Film director, actress, comedian, screenwriter
Years active: 1955–2000, 2016–present
Partner(s): Stanley Donen (1999–2019, his death)
Children: Jeannie Berlin
IMDb: Elaine May's IMDb

About Elaine May

Director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose work included the films Primary Colors and Heaven Can Wait.

Before Fame

She grew up in a family of actors.


She became famous in the 1950s for her improvisational comedy work with Mike Nichols.

Family Life

She married her second husband Sheldon Harnick in 1972. She has a daughter named Jeannie Berlin.


Her company once included Louis Lasser.

Information related to Elaine May

  • Film directors from Pennsylvania
  • Actresses from Philadelphia
  • United States National Medal of Arts recipients
  • Writers Guild of America Award winners
  • Jewish American actresses
  • American women comedians
  • Writers from Philadelphia
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Latest information about Elaine May updated on February 26, 2021.

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