‘It’s hard to keep going’ Mel Brooks, 95, addresses deaths of wife and close friends

Mel Brooks makes a joke about surviving the war

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American actor and comedian Mel Brooks has said it’s “hard to keep going” looking back on all the friends and family member’s he has lost. The Hollywood director, 95, has now penned a memoir which he wrote during the Covid pandemic, reflecting on his friendship with his close friend and filmmaker Carl Reiner, who died in June 2020, aged 98.

It’s hard to keep going sometimes

Mel Brooks

The film legend has recently published his memoir which sees him reflect on his past as well as the famous names he worked with.

Brooks penned his book during the coronavirus pandemic, following the death of his friend Carl last year.

Speaking about how he coped during the pandemic, the star admitted that he was both “good and bad”, but used the time to write down all the stories he told his son Max Brooks growing up.

In a new interview, Brooks admitted he found it both “comforting and painful” to write about people who used to be in his life.

“A little of both. Yeah, a little of both,” he said.

The star went on to speak about his friend and actor Gene Wilder, before talking about Reiner whom he shared eight decades of friendship with.

However, he said that it was tough to keep his head held high.

Brooks explained to The Guardian: “When I look back at people like Gene, who I loved so much and miss so much, and my adventures with Carl […] and, of course, my wife who was my great love and support, it was hard to keep going sometimes.”

Despite speaking about his friendships with numerous Hollywood legends such as stand-up comedian Richard Pryor, filmmaker Henry Buck and comedian Fon DeLuise, the star explained he deliberately didn’t mention the death of his second wife, actress Anne Bancroft.

She died in 2005 from uterine cancer, but Brooks makes no allusion to this in his memoir.

Speaking about why he chose not to speak of her death, the star said: “No, that still hurts too much.”

However, he said he would watch one of her films if it was on TV, adding that he would “cry” watching his late wife perform.

He added: “She was just amazing. I don’t think there was anybody better.”

The couple were married for over fifty years until her death aged 73.

Previously, Brooks was married to Florence Baumn, a broadway dancer from 1953 to 1962.

Together they share three children, sons Max and Eddie and daughter Stephanie.

Earlier this year Welsh singer Tom Jones spoke candidly of the time Brooks “slammed the phone down” on him during a hospital call.

In 2017 the Sex Bomb hitmaker underwent a hip replacement and he has now told of how the Hollywood icon called him on a daily basis to check in on him during his recovery.

The Welsh-born legend added: “At the end of the conversation, sometimes he’d say, ‘So you’re feeling all right now, are you?’ and I say, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m good. Thanks a lot.'”

“And he goes, ‘Well, you know, I’ve called you again today and I don’t know really why I call you, because I don’t even like you’.

“And then he slammed the phone down, that’s so funny to me!” he told the AV Club.

Mel Brooks’ memoir All About Me! is available to buy here.

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