This is a teaser short for the upcoming documentary feature on legendary comedian and actor, Shelley Berman, directed by me, Elle Newlands.
I met Shelley in a doctors office about a year and a half ago. He walked in with his wife Sarah and I recognized him from the many TV and film roles I had seen him in. He is probably most recognizable recently as Larry David's father on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' or as Adam Sandler's father in 'You Don't Mess with the Zohan' but he has an incredible body of work both as an actor and a comedian. He sat down in the waiting room and proceeded to go around the room doing 'crowd work' on all of us sitting there. Magazines, iPhones and Blackberries were slowly put down as we laughed at his wry, sharp observational humor. We struck up a conversation and from there, I knew I had to make a film about him and his life.
He was the first comedian to ever perform stand up at Carnegie Hall and the first person to ever win a non musical Grammy in 1959 for a spoken word album (his album 'Inside Shelley Berman'). He has a career spanning over 50 years and throughout it all, he has been supported by his sweetheart Sarah - his wife of 65 years. To me, that's the real achievement. Careers come and go but a 65 year marriage in Hollywood is pretty unique.
The documentary will tell the story of Shelley's life and the ups and downs of his Hollywood career but most importantly, it will showcase the lasting love that he and Sarah have created.
This is their love story.
Special thanks to my editor Scottie Simerly Jr, DP Mike DeGrazzio and Shelley's friend and webmaster Christopher Bay for access to his incredible archive of photos and videos from Shelley's career