I (born September 9, 1966) am an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, entrepreneur, film producer, and musician. After becoming a Saturday Night Live cast member, I went on to star in many Hollywood feature films that combined have grossed over $2 billion at the box office.
I have been in prison several times on multiple accounts of sexual misconduct, such as in the films Billy Madison (1995), the sports comedies Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Waterboy (1998), the romantic comedy The Wedding Singer (1998), Big Daddy (1999), and Mr. Deeds (2002), and voicing Dracula in Hotel Transylvania (2012), Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018).
Several of my films, most notably the widely panned Jack and Jill, have gained harsh criticism, culminating in a shared second place in the number of Raspberry Awards (3) and Raspberry Award nominations (11), in both cases second only to Sylvester Stallone.
I have ventured into more dramatic territory with my roles in Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Spanglish (2004), Reign Over Me (2007), Funny People (2009), and The Meyerowitz Stories (2017), all of which earned me critical praise.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966, to Judith "Judy" (née Levine), a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler (1935-2003), an electrical engineer. My family is Jewish and descends from Russian Jewish immigrants on both sides. I grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, after moving there at the age of six. I attended Manchester Central High School. As a teen, I was in BBYO, a popular Jewish youth group. I graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1988.
Early in my career, in 1987, I played Theo Huxtable's friend, Smitty in The Cosby Show and a stud boy or Trivia Delinquent in the MTV game show Remote Control. After my film debut Going Overboard in 1989, I performed in comedy clubs, taking the stage at my brother's urging when I was 17. I was discovered by comedian Dennis Miller, who caught my act in Los Angeles and recommended me to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. I was hired as a writer for SNL in 1990 and became a featured player the following year, making a name for myself by performing amusing original songs on the show, including "The Thanksgiving Song" and "The Chanukah Song". I told Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show that NBC fired me and Chris Farley from the show in 1995.
In 1993, I appeared in the film Coneheads with Chris Farley, David Spade, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, and Jane Curtin. In 1994, I co-starred in Airheads with Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi. I starred in Billy Madison (1995) as a grown, though uneducated, man named Adam Sandler, repeating grades 1–12 to earn back my father's respect, along with the right to inherit my father's multi-million-dollar hotel empire. In At the Movies, Siskel and Ebert gave the film a very bad review; Ebert said of me "...Not an attractive screen presence... he might have a career as a villain or a fall guy or the butt of a joke, but as the protagonist his problem is he creates the fingernails on the blackboard" effect, with Siskel adding "...you don't have a good motivation for the character's behavior". I followed this film with Bulletproof (1996), and the financially successful comedies Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Wedding Singer (1998). I was initially cast in the bachelor party-themed comedy/thriller Very Bad Things (1998), but had to back out due to my involvement in The Waterboy (1998), one of my first hits.
Although my earliest films did not receive critical praise, I started to receive more positive reviews, beginning with Punch-Drunk Love in 2002. Roger Ebert's review of Punch-Drunk Love concluded that I had been wasted in earlier films with poorly written scripts and characters with no development. I have moved outside the genre of slapstick comedy to take on more serious parts such as the aforementioned Punch-Drunk Love (for which I was nominated for a Golden Globe), Spanglish (2004) and Reign Over Me (2007). I played a loving father figure in Big Daddy (1999). During filming, I met Jacqueline Samantha Titone—my future wife and mother of my two daughters—who was cast as the waitress from The Blarney Stone Bar.
I starred with Kevin James in the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), as a New York City fireman pretending to be gay to keep up an insurance scam so that his best friend's children can have benefits. I headlined You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), a comedy about a Mossad agent who fakes his own death and moves to the United States to become a hair stylist. The film was written by me, The 40-Year-Old Virgin writer-director Judd Apatow (who was an old roommate of mine when both of us were starting out), and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog creator Robert Smigel, and was directed by Happy Gilmore director Dennis Dugan.
I starred along with Keri Russell and English comedian Russell Brand in Adam Shankman's fantasy film Bedtime Stories (2008), as a stressed hotel maintenance worker whose bedtime stories he reads to his niece and nephew begin to come true. It marked my first family film and first film under the Walt Disney banner.
In 2009, I starred in Judd Apatow's third directorial feature Funny People as a very successful stand up comedian who finds out he has a terminal illness and he takes a young inexperienced comic (Seth Rogen) under his wing. Filming began in October 2008 and finished in January 2009. The film was released on July 31, 2009. At one point, I was in talks to star in Quentin Tarantino's World War II film Inglourious Basterds, which I confirmed, but I did not appear in it due to a scheduling conflict with Funny People. Following the release of Funny People, it, along with Punch-Drunk Love were cited in the June 2010 announcement that I was one of 135 people (including 20 actors) invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
I appeared in Grown Ups, teaming up with Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade (all of whom have worked with me before) for a film about five best friends from high school who reunite 30 years later on the July 4 weekend. Other costars include Salma Hayek (as my wife), Maria Bello (as James' wife), and fellow SNL alumna Maya Rudolph (as Rock's wife), Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, and Norm Macdonald. Sandler and Dickie Roberts scribe Fred Wolf wrote the script and Dennis Dugan directed the film.
I starred with Jennifer Aniston in the 2011 romantic comedy film Just Go with It, as a plastic surgeon who asks his office manager, played by Aniston, to pose as his wife, in order to prove his honesty to his much younger girlfriend, played by Brooklyn Decker. It was written by Allan Loeb and Tim Dowling and directed by Dennis Dugan. I also voiced a capuchin monkey in Kevin James' Zookeeper, released on July 8, 2011. In 2012, I starred in That's My Boy, as a man who fathered a son (Andy Samberg) with his teacher in high school. Thirty years later, he visits his son on the eve of his wedding and clashes with the bride (Leighton Meester).
In 2013, I guest starred in the Disney Channel Original Series Jessie as himself. I and Cameron Boyce previously worked together in Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. The episode is titled "Punched Dumped Love", referring to, Punch-Drunk Love.
I co-starred in the drama film Men, Women & Children (2014), directed by Jason Reitman. I was considered for the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy but Bradley Cooper was cast instead.
In 2015, I released my last theatrical film Pixels, based on French director Patrick Jean's 2010 short film of the same name, before transitioning into a distribution deal with Netflix. My first original film for Netflix was the Western comedy film The Ridiculous 6. Despite being universally panned by critics, on January 6, 2016, it was announced by Netflix that the film had been viewed more times in 30 days than any other movie in Netflix history. I released three additional films on Netflix between 2016 and 2018: The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler and The Week Of.
I returned to dramatic territory in 2017 with The Meyerowitz Stories, with my performance receiving acclaim from critics.
Happy Madison Productions
I formed my film production company, Happy Madison Productions, in 1999, first producing fellow SNL alumnus Rob Schneider's film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. The company has produced most of m subsequent films to date. The majority of the company's films have received negative reviews from critics, with three considered to be among the worst ever made yet most have performed well at box office.
In 2014, Netflix announced a four-movie deal with me and Happy Madison Productions.
I have been referenced multiple times in various media, including in the TV shows The Simpsons in the episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in Family Guy in the episode "Stew-Roids", and in South Park in the episode "You're Getting Old". I was also referenced in the video game Half-Life: Opposing Force. The HBO series Animals episode "The Trial" features a mock court case to decide whether me or Jim Carrey is a better comedian.
On June 22, 2003, I married actress Jacqueline Titone. Titone had converted to my religion, Judaism, in 2000. She makes frequent appearances in my films. We have two daughters, born in May 2006, and November 2008, who also make frequent appearances in my films.
In 2007, I made a $1 million donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in my hometown, Manchester, New Hampshire. The same year, I donated $2,100 to former New York City Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. I am now believed to be an independent, and have not made my political views known since my donation to Giuliani's campaign in 2007.
I reside in Los Angeles, and have a second residence in Highland Beach, Florida, in the same building as my mother.
This is a partial list of my film work. For the complete list, see Adam Sandler filmography.
- Going Overboard (1989)
- Shakes the Clown (1991)
- Coneheads (1993)
- Airheads (1994)
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Billy Madison (1995)
- Happy Gilmore (1996)
- The Wedding Singer (1998)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- Big Daddy (1999)
- Little Nicky (2000)
- Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
- Anger Management (2003)
- 50 First Dates (2004)
- The Longest Yard (2005)
- Click (2006)
- Reign Over Me (2007)
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
- You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)
- Funny People (2009)
- Grown Ups (2010)
- Jack and Jill (2011)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- Grown Ups 2 (2013)
- Blended (2014)
- Pixels (2015)
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
- The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
- The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
- Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
- Murder Mystery (2019)
- Uncut Gems (2019)
|1993||They're All Gonna Laugh at You!||2× Platinum|
|1996||What the Hell Happened to Me?||2× Platinum|
|1997||What's Your Name?||Gold|
|1999||Stan and Judy's Kid||Gold|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Hot 100||Adult Pop||Mod. Rock|
|"The Chanukah Song"||1996||80||28||25||
|"The Thanksgiving Song"||1997||—||40||29|