Audiences love him and critics loathe him, which helps explain why Adam Sandler has shied away from the press for most of his career and still managed to star in 11 $100-million-plus grossing films.
Though he was born in New York, Sandler grew up in Manchester, N.H., the son of an electrical engineer and a nursery school teacher. Sandler attended college at New York University, where he developed his comedy routine at night in clubs around the city.
In 1990, he was hired as a writer at "Saturday Night Live," becoming a featured player in 1991 and then becoming a regular cast member. He introduced such characters as Cajun Man and Opera Man and earned a reputation for speaking in a bizarre baby voice.
Sandler claims he and friend Chris Farley were fired from “SNL” by the network in 1995, but by that time Sandler’s movie career had already started to take off with his successful comedy “Billy Madison.” Critics despised the film about the idiot son of a healthy hotelier who is forced to complete every grade of school through high school graduation in order to earn his inheritance, but teens loved it. They stuck with Sandler through his follow-up, the golf comedy “Happy Gilmore” and the 1980s romantic comedy “The Wedding Singer.”
Sandler’s first $100-million hit was “The Waterboy” in 1998. Following that film’s breakout success, Sandler formed his own production company, Happy Madison Productions, and served as producer of all of his own films and a few starring his comedian friends, including David Spade and Rob Schneider.
Sandler is known for his loyalty to his friends and collaborators and frequently works with the same people.
Sandler has made a few attempts to stretch his range in films with respected directors, such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” in 2002 and James L. Brooks’ “Spanglish” in 2004. Those films have received positive reviews but have been nowhere near as financially successful as his lower-brow comedies.
Sandler married model Jacqueline Samantha Titone in 2003. They have two daughters.