Elaine May (born Elaine Iva Berlin in Philadelphia, PA, 1932) is an American actress, writer and filmmaker. Her earliest fame came in the late 1950s, as half of the improvisational comedy team Nichols and May, with partner Mike Nichols.In 1971, she wrote and directed her first film, A New Leaf, in which she also starred along with Walter Matthau. The original 3 hour cut of the film was heavily edited by the studio, which caused May to disclaim the final version of the film.Her next film The Heartbreak Kid (1972) (written by Neil Simon) gave Charles Grodin his first starring film role. A critical favorite (even earning a couple Oscar nominations), it has long been considered a comedy classic and was remade in 2007.It was followed by Mikey and Nicky, a mob-themed drama with John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. Once again May faced Executive Meddling, resulting in legal action between her and the studio, which delayed the film's release by several years.Her last film as writer and director, Ishtar, was released in 1987 and was widely panned by critics and audiences. However, the film has gained in esteem over the years, and is frequently cited as a favorite of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.May remains an active writer.