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Gene Saks

Director, Performer
( b. Nov 08, 1921 New York, New York, USA - d. Mar 28, 2015 East Hampton, New York, USA ) Male
Also known as: Jean Michael Saks [Birthname]
Relations: Husband of Bea Arthur (1950 - 1978) divorced
Gene Saks was an actor who switched to stage and film directing in midcareer, and becoming the leading interpreter of the plays of Neil Simon.

As a director, Mr. Saks focused on comedy, and he excelled with the kind of snappy, battle-of-the-sexes material that might be termed the theater of repartee.

Mr. Saks directed what many critics considered Mr. Simon's more serious comedies and his finest and deepest work - Lost in Yonkers (1991), which won the Tony for best play and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and the original productions of Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983) and Biloxi Blues (1985).

Sakes was born Jean Michael Saks - he legally changed the spelling of his name as an adult - was born to Morris Saks and the former Beatrix Leukowitz. His father ran a wholesale women's shoe business. He graduated from Cornell and, after serving in the Navy during World War II - he took part in the Normandy invasion - studied acting at the New School for Social Research and the Actors Studio.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Saks appeared as a performer on Broadway in small roles in a number of hit shows, including South Pacific; The Tenth Man by Paddy Chayefsky; and A Shot in the Dark. His best-known stage role was as a temperamental and phony children's television star, Leo Herman, a.k.a. Chuckles the Chipmunk, in the 1962 Herb Gardner comedy A Thousand Clowns.. He reprised the role in the 1965 film, but by then he was mostly a director.

"He could direct actors to be funny, but he wasn't funny himself," said Emanuel Azenberg, "He would say, 'This is funny, 'in a very serious way. And you'd laugh, because THAT was funny. All of those fundamentals - pacing, timing, line readings - that had to do with: If you said it this way it would be funny, but if you said it another way it wouldn't be funny. That's what he was good at.

Source: New York Times Obituary 


ProductionsDate of Productions
Barrymore
[Play, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 25, 1997 - Nov 02, 1997
Jake's Women
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 24, 1992 - Oct 25, 1992
Lost in Yonkers
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Feb 21, 1991 - Jan 03, 1993
Rumors
[Play, Comedy, Farce, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Nov 17, 1988 - Feb 24, 1990
A Month of Sundays
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Apr 16, 1987 - Apr 18, 1987
Broadway Bound
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Dec 04, 1986 - Sep 25, 1988
Rags
[Musical, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Aug 21, 1986 - Aug 23, 1986
The Odd Couple
[Play, Comedy, Revival]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Jun 11, 1985 - Feb 23, 1986
Biloxi Blues
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 28, 1985 - Jun 28, 1986
Brighton Beach Memoirs
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 27, 1983 - May 11, 1986
Special Occasions
[Play, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Feb 07, 1982 - Feb 07, 1982
The Supporting Cast
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Aug 06, 1981 - Sep 05, 1981
I Love My Wife
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Apr 17, 1977 - May 20, 1979
California Suite
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Jun 10, 1976 - Jul 02, 1977
Same Time, Next Year
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 14, 1975 - Sep 03, 1978
How the Other Half Loves
[Play, Farce, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 29, 1971 - Jun 26, 1971
Sheep on the Runway
[Play, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Jan 31, 1970 - May 02, 1970
Mame
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
May 24, 1966 - Jan 03, 1970
Generation
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Oct 06, 1965 - Jun 25, 1966
Half a Sixpence
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Apr 25, 1965 - Jul 16, 1966
Nobody Loves an Albatross
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Dec 19, 1963 - Jun 20, 1964
Enter Laughing
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Gene Saks
Mar 13, 1963 - Mar 14, 1964
A Thousand Clowns
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Also Starring: Gene Saks [Leo Herman]
Apr 05, 1962 - Apr 13, 1963
A Shot in the Dark
[Play, Farce, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [Morestan]
Oct 18, 1961 - Sep 22, 1962
Love and Libel
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [Norman Yarrow]
Dec 07, 1960 - Dec 10, 1960
The Tenth Man
[Play, Original]
  • Also Starring: Gene Saks [Rabbi]
Nov 05, 1959 - May 13, 1961
Howie
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [Professor]
Sep 17, 1958 - Sep 20, 1958
The Infernal Machine
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [The Captain of the Patrol]
Feb 03, 1958 - Mar 09, 1958
The Good Woman of Setzuan
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [First God]
Dec 18, 1956 - Jan 06, 1957
South Pacific
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [Professor]
May 04, 1955 - May 15, 1955
All You Need Is One Good Break
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks [Marty's Double, Second Discusser]
Feb 09, 1950 - Feb 11, 1950
South Pacific
[Musical, Drama, Original]
  • Performer: Gene Saks
    • Professor - Replacement
Apr 07, 1949 - Jan 16, 1954
1991 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Play
Lost in Yonkers [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1987 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play
Broadway Bound [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1985 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Play
nomineeBiloxi Blues [winner]
Directed by Gene Saks
1985 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play
Biloxi Blues [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1983 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Play
nomineeBrighton Beach Memoirs [winner]
Directed by Gene Saks
1977 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
nomineeI Love My Wife [winner]
Directed by Gene Saks
1977 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical
I Love My Wife [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1975 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Play
Same Time, Next Year [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1975 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play
Same Time, Next Year [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1966 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
Mame [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
1965 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
Half a Sixpence [nominee]
Directed by Gene Saks
Find out where Gene Saks and are credited together