July 22, 1947 – Actor, comedian and writer Albert Brooks is born as “Albert Lawrence Einstein” in Los Angeles. He changed his stage name early in his career, quipping that “the real Albert Einstein changed his name to sound more intelligent.” Raised in the Jewish tradition, Brooks said in a 2013 Vanity Fair interview, “I donâ€™t believe in the images of what God is, a thing or a person. I do wonder often the reason the sea horse is here, or a tree, or why Iâ€™m here, and so I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™m religious. But itâ€™s interesting when youâ€™re part of a groupâ€”the Jews, to be exactâ€”that the world has had such problems with. It has really nothing to do with religion. Thatâ€™s why, if my kids didnâ€™t want to go to temple, I used to say, ‘Let me explain something to you: If Hitler came back, heâ€™s not going to ask if you went to temple. Youâ€™re already on the train. So you might as well know who you are and why theyâ€™re going to take you.'” On whether some things are “meant to be” he said, “I don’t buy it, but I love it.” Brooks’ debuted in a supporting role in the classic Taxi Driver, won numerous awards for his role in Broadcast News, and played the heavy in 2011’s Drive. He also starred in Defending Your Life (about a man being judged in the afterlife) and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (in which Brooks plays a version of himself, sent on a mission by the US government to discover “what makes Muslims laugh.”)
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