James Lawrence Brooks (born May 9, 1940) is a producer, writer, and film director.
He is best known for producing classic TV shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Simpsons, Rhoda, Taxi, and The Tracey Ullman Show. His best-known film is his directorial debut, Terms of Endearment, for which he received three Academy Awards in 1984. He has also voiced himself in the episode "A Star Is Born-Again".
James L. Brooks was raised in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. Brooks began his television career as a writer for CBS News from 1964 to 1966. After working for the ABC television series Room 222 as executive story editor, Brooks was hired along with writing partner Allan Burns by television executive Grant Tinker to create a show that would later become The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show became a critical and commercial success and spawned other television shows created by Brooks and Burns such as Rhoda, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, Taxi, The Associates, and Lou Grant.
In 1978, Brooks began work on feature motion films. His first project was being writer and co-producer on the film Starting Over and later wrote, produced, and directed Terms of Endearment in 1983.
Brooks later started his own film and television production company, Gracie Films, in 1984. Gracie Films would produce the television series The Tracey Ullman Show and its spin-off, The Simpsons. He also produced the Jon Lovitz animated series The Critic. Gracie Films's notable film productions were Jerry Maguire, As Good as It Gets, Bottle Rocket, and Broadcast News.
Brooks had a cameo in the The Simpsons episode "A Star Is Born-Again". He also played a semi-fictional version of himself in friend Albert Brooks' comedy Modern Romance as an opinionated film director.