James S. Abrahams
May 10, 1944
Life and career
Abrahams was born to a Jewish family in Shorewood, Wisconsin, the son of Louise M. (née Ogens), an educational researcher, and Norman S. Abrahams, a lawyer. He attended Shorewood High School. He has a home in Eagle River, Wisconsin where he has spent summers since he was a child.
He may be best known for the spoof movies that he co-wrote and produced with brothers Jerry Zucker and David Zucker, such as Airplane! (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay) and The Naked Gun series. The team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (also referred to as "ZAZ") really began when the three men grew up together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He directed movies on his own, such as Big Business, and further honed his skills in parody with Hot Shots! and its 1993 sequel, Hot Shots! Part Deux.
Abrahams and his wife, Nancy (née Cocuzzo) co-founded The Charlie Foundation To Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy.
|1977||The Kentucky Fried Movie||No||Yes||No|
|1980||Airplane!||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-directed with David & Jerry Zucker|
|1988||The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!||No||Yes||Yes|
|1990||Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael||Yes||No||No|
|1993||Hot Shots! Part Deux||Yes||Yes||No|
|1994||An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet||Yes||No||No||Documentary short|
|2006||Scary Movie 4||No||Yes||No|
Executive producer only
- Cry-Baby (1990)
- The Naked Gun 2+1⁄2: The Smell of Fear (1991)
- Naked Gun 33+1⁄3: The Final Insult (1994)
|1977||The Kentucky Fried Movie||Technician #1 / Announcer|
|1980||Airplane!||Religious Zealot #6|
|1984||Top Secret!||German Soldier in Prop Room|
|1988||Coming to America||Face on Cutting Room Floor|
|2019||Fat: A Documentary||Self - Filmmaker & Founder, Charlie Foundation|
|1976||Big John, Little John||No||No||Yes||writer of episode "Abracadabra" with David & Jerry Zucker|
|1982||Police Squad!||Yes||Executive||Yes||Director and writer of episode "A Substantial Gift (The Broken Promise)" with David & Jerry Zucker|
|1997||...First Do No Harm||Yes||Executive||TV movie|
|2018||Voice of the Epilepsies||No||Executive||Documentary|
|2019||Late Night Berlin||No||Creative||Episode "Folge 42"|
|1972||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Performer||Part as Kentucky Fried Theatre in one episode|
|1974||The Midnight Special|
- Desser, David; Friedman, Lester D. (2004). American Jewish Filmmakers. University of Illinois Press. p. 166. ISBN 9780252071539.
- Jan Uebelherr (December 28, 2012). "Louise Abrahams Yaffe: 'Airplane' co-creator's mother set her own course: Yaffe was advocate for the aging, occasional actress". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
- Up-North Escape – All Ways Forward Retrieved 2018-11-01.