James Lawrence Brooks (born May 9, 1940) is an American producer, director, screenwriter, and occasional actor whose works are usually critical hits. He is friends and a frequent collaborator with music composer Hans Zimmer. He also has his own production company, Gracie Films.
Brooks is one of only eight directors to win Academy Awards for writing, directing and producing a film,note accomplishing the triple feat for Terms of Endearment. He was also nominated for producing Broadcast News, Jerry Maguire, and As Good as It Gets and for writing Broadcast News and As Good as It Gets. On the small screen, he's known for helping to create such classic TV series as Room 222, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and Taxi, and for being one of the executive producers and original creators of the extremely long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons (joining Matt Groeningnote and the late Sam Simon).
Brooks's production company, established in 1984 and named for comedian Gracie Allen.
The Vanity Plate takes place in a cinema room where a lady shushes noisy attendees as the lights dim, and the words "GRACIE FILMS" appear on screen while accompanied by a catchy, jazzy, jingle composed by Jeffrey Townsend. On The Simpsons Halloween episodes ("Treehouse of Horror"), the lady's "Shh!" is changed to a scream while the catchy, jazzy jingle is replaced with creepy organ music.
Some people have said that the jingle was inspired by the chorus of the Go West song "The King of Wishful Thinking," but the logo and jingle actually predate the song by a couple of years.
Notable works with the involvement of Brooks and or Gracie Films, or just Brooks:
- Starting Over (1979)
- Terms of Endearment (1983) – Best Picture winner
- Broadcast News (1987) – Best Picture nominee
- Big (1988)
- Say Anything... (1989)
- The War of the Roses (1989)
- I'll Do Anything (1994)
- Jerry Maguire (1996) – Best Picture nominee
- As Good as It Gets (1997) – Best Picture nominee
- Spanglish (2004)
- The Simpsons Movie (2007)
- How Do You Know (2010)
- The Edge of Seventeen (2016) [producer only]
- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023) [producer only]
- My Mother the Car (1965–66)
- Room 222 (1969–74)
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–77)
- Rhoda (1974–78)
- Lou Grant (1977–82)
- Taxi (1978–83)
- The Tracey Ullman Show (1987–90)
- The Simpsons (1989– )
- The Critic (1994–95)
- Icebox (2018) [producer only]