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 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.