Elaine May

Biography of Elaine May

Elaine May (born April 21, 1932) is an American film director, screenwriter and actress. She achieved her greatest fame in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines in partnership with Mike Nichols. She is a two time Academy Award nominated screenwriter and also the mother of Oscar nominee Jeannie Berlin.

Elaine Berlin was born in Philadelphia in 1932, the daughter of the theatre director/actor Jack Berlin and his wife, Ida, an actress, who had a small role in May's film, A New Leaf. As a child, Elaine occasionally performed with her father in the Yiddish theater he ran. In 1942, the family moved to Los Angeles.

She married Marvin May in the late 1940s and gave birth to a daughter, actress-director-screenwriter Jeannie Berlin (who is known by her mother's maiden name) in 1949 at age 17; the couple later divorced. In 1962, she married lyricist Sheldon Harnick, best known for his work in Fiddler On The Roof. However, they divorced a year later when May became romantically involved with her psychoanalyst, Dr. David L. Rubinfine. May and Rubinfine remained married until his death in 1982, though they lived separately in later years. Her current partner is American film director and choreographer Stanley Donen.

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