Jim Abrahams

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Jim Abrahams
Abrahams in 2015
James S. Abrahams

(1944-05-10) May 10, 1944 (age 79)
Occupation(s)film director
film producer
Years active1976–2019
SpouseNancy Cocuzzo

James S. Abrahams (born May 10, 1944) is an American film director and writer, best known as a member of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker.

Life and career[edit]

Abrahams was born to a Jewish family[1] in Shorewood, Wisconsin, the son of Louise M. (née Ogens), an educational researcher, and Norman S. Abrahams, a lawyer.[2] He attended Shorewood High School.[2] He has a home in Eagle River, Wisconsin where he has spent summers since he was a child.[3]

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.[citation needed]

Abrahams and his wife, Nancy (née Cocuzzo) co-founded The Charlie Foundation To Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy.



Year Title Director Writer Executive Producer Notes
1977 The Kentucky Fried Movie No Yes No
1980 Airplane! Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with David & Jerry Zucker
1984 Top Secret! Yes Yes Yes
1986 Ruthless People Yes No No
1988 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! No Yes Yes
Big Business Yes No No
1990 Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Yes No No
1991 Hot Shots! Yes Yes No
1993 Hot Shots! Part Deux Yes Yes No
1994 An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet Yes No No Documentary short
1998 Mafia! Yes Yes No
2006 Scary Movie 4 No Yes No

Executive producer only[edit]

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title Role
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
1991 Oscar Postman
2019 Fat: A Documentary Self - Filmmaker & Founder, Charlie Foundation



Year Title Creator Producer Writer Notes
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

Other work[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Notes
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"

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title Role Note
1972 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Performer Part as Kentucky Fried Theatre in one episode
1974 The Midnight Special


  1. ^ Desser, David; Friedman, Lester D. (2004). American Jewish Filmmakers. University of Illinois Press. p. 166. ISBN 9780252071539.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ Up-North Escape – All Ways Forward Retrieved 2018-11-01.

External links[edit]