David Zucker (filmmaker)

David Zucker (filmmaker)
David Zucker
Born October 16, 1947 (1947-10-16) (age 64)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Occupation Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter
Spouse Danielle Zucker

David Zucker (born October 16, 1947) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter.


Personal life

Zucker was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Charlotte and Burton Zucker, who was a real estate developer.[1] He graduated from Shorewood High School.[2] Zucker is married to Dr. Danielle Zucker, with whom he has two children, Charles and Sarah. His younger brother, Jerry, is his filmmaking partner. The Zucker brothers have a sister, Susan Breslau.


Zucker's movies include The Kentucky Fried Movie in 1977, The Naked Gun in 1988, The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear in 1991, BASEketball in 1998, Scary Movie 3 in 2003, its sequel Scary Movie 4 in 2006 and An American Carol in 2008.

He co-directed several films including Airplane! in 1980 and Top Secret! in 1984; along with his brother, Jerry, and Jim Abrahams, the trio make up the ZAZ team of directors. He has also worked with Pat Proft (with whom he first teamed up on the Naked Gun show Police Squad!) and Craig Mazin (writer of three of the four Scary Movies).

Looking back on his career in 2009, Leslie Nielsen said the best film he appeared in was The Naked Gun, and that Zucker was his favorite director to work with. Nielsen said of him, "He came to me one time and said, 'Leslie, I'll never make you do anything that is not funny.' And he kept his word."[3]

ZAZ and Proft helped develop the parody genre of films, in which jokes are spit out with rapid-fire, using puns, physical humor, wit, and double entendres. Some of the veteran actors of ZAZ's vision of parody include Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Charlie Sheen, Julie Hagerty, and Anna Faris (who has starred in all four of the Scary Movie series).

In his movies, his mother, Charlotte (March 10, 1921 - September 5, 2007) was often cast in a small bit part (like one of the Lucille Ball impersonators in Rat Race, and Vincent Ludwig's secretary, Dominique, in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!).

Zucker has stated that his dream project is a Davy Crockett biopic. He mentioned his enthusiasm for the Davy Crockett project during an interview in 2006 for the feature length documentary, "That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor",[4] on the life of Dub Taylor, which has received support from the Taylor Family and many of Dub's previous co-workers, including Bill Cosby, Peter Fonda, Dixie Carter, Don Collier, Cheryl Rogers-Barnett, as well as many others. The project had its World Premiere at Taylor's Childhood Hometown of Augusta, Georgia on April 14, 2007. The project is from Executive Producers Stokes and James Kicklighter from JamesWorks Entertainment and Professor Pauper Productions. Part of his interview is on YouTube.[5]


A campaign contributions search for Zucker, once a longtime liberal Democrat, shows his first conservative contribution as US$2647 to Club for Growth, which promotes lower taxes and smaller government. The website hosts political videos including his initial video criticizing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.[6] On October 10, 2006, the Drudge Report published a link to a political ad Zucker produced and later appeared on Youtube.[7] In a quote from a Drudge Report exclusive:

In the ad, Zucker....recreates former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's 2000 visit to North Korea. During the visit, Secretary Albright presented North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il with a basketball autographed by former NBA superstar Michael Jordan. Actress Adele Stasilli-Fernandez, playing Albright, is shown presenting Kim Jong Il with the basketball, painting the walls of Osama bin Laden's Afghanistan cave and turning a blind eye to suicide bombers. In one scene, her skirt rips as she changes the tire of a Middle Eastern dictator's limousine. One GOP strategist said "jaws dropped" when the ad was first viewed. "Nobody could believe Zucker thought any political organization could use this ad. It makes a point, but it's way over the top."

On October 23, 2006, a second Zucker video, “The Taxman”, was posted to YouTube.[8] The spot suggests that Democrats, if elected, would raise taxes.

On December 18, 2006, a third was posted, this time with the Iraq Study Group in his sights.[9] This video compares study group's recommendations with that of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler prior to World War II.

While promoting his film An American Carol, Zucker confirmed that he now considers himself a conservative Republican, though still campaigns for better environmental policies. He also said he would have voted for Hillary Clinton or Joe Lieberman, but considers Barack Obama "extremely left-wing."[10]

Recurring cast members

Among all of his directed and/or produced parody films, Zucker almost has cast Leslie Nielsen in for comedic roles.

Actor Airplane!
Ruthless People
Naked Gun: From
the Files of
Police Squad!

The Naked Gun
2½: The
Smell of Fear

My Boss'

Scary Movie 3
Scary Movie 4
An American

Anthony Anderson NoN NoN
Carmen Electra NoN NoN
Anna Faris NoN NoN
Regina Hall NoN NoN
Kevin Hart NoN NoN
George Kennedy NoN NoN
Michael Madsen NoN NoN
Jenny McCarthy NoN NoN
Edward Moss NoN NoN
Leslie Nielsen NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Priscilla Presley NoN NoN
Bill Pullman NoN NoN
Simon Rex NoN NoN
Molly Shannon NoN NoN
Charlie Sheen NoN NoN
O. J. Simpson NoN NoN
Ed Williams NoN NoN


Year Film Director Producer Writer
1977 The Kentucky Fried Movie Yes
1980 Airplane! Yes Yes
1984 Top Secret! Yes Yes
1986 Ruthless People Yes
1988 Naked Gun Yes Yes Yes
1991 Naked Gun 2½ Yes Yes
1993 For Goodness Sake Yes
1996 High School High Yes Yes
1998 BASEketball Yes Yes Yes
2002 Phone Booth Yes
2003 My Boss's Daughter Yes
Scary Movie 3 Yes Yes
2006 Scary Movie 4 Yes
2008 The Onion Movie Yes
Superhero Movie Yes
An American Carol Yes Yes Yes


  1. ^ David Zucker Biography (1947-)
  2. ^ "25 years and still laughing: 'Airplane!' maintains its cruising altitude with a non-stop zany attitude", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 11, 2005. Accessed September 17, 2007. "The event is in honor of the volunteer service and philanthropy of Louise Abrahams Yaffe and her son Jim Abrahams, who wrote and directed "Airplane!" with fellow Shorewood High School and University of Wisconsin–Madison graduates David and Jerry Zucker."
  3. ^ McEvoy, Colin (March 28, 2009). "Leslie Nielsen here? Surely you jest! MOVIE STAR SITS DOWN with students to kick off DeSales festival. And don't call him Shirley.". The Express-Times: p. A1. 
  4. ^ That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor
  5. ^ YouTube - Behind the Scenes of "That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor"
  6. ^ “David Zucker's Federal Campaign Contribution Report”, NEWSMEAT. accessed 21 December 2006
  7. ^ “The David Zucker Albright Ad”, YouTube (10 October 2006). accessed 21 December 2006
  8. ^ “Zucker Uncensored Taxman Ad”, YouTube (18 December 2006). accessed 21 December 2006
  9. ^ “Zucker Takes on the Iraq Study Group and James Baker”, YouTube (23 October 2006). accessed 21 December 2006
  10. ^ "Stranger in a strange land: A conservative in Hollywood"

External links

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