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.
Won Academy Awards for picture, director and screenplay for Terms of Endearment, and 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. He is one of only eight directors to win for writing, directing and producing a film.note Outside of his films, Brooks is also known as a co-creator and producer of classic sitcoms (Room 222, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda and Taxi), as well as one of the executive producers and original creators of the long-running FOX animated sitcom The Simpsons (joining Matt Groeningnote and the late Sam Simon).
Brooks's production company, established in 1984 and named for comedienne 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]
- My Mother the Car (196566)
- Room 222 (196974)
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show (197077)
- Rhoda (197478)
- Lou Grant (197782)
- Taxi (197883)
- The Tracey Ullman Show (198790)
- The Simpsons (1989 )
- The Critic (199495)
- Icebox (2018) [producer only]