As fans know, Albert Brooks’ main occupation is as a triple-threat comic auteur: screenwriter, director, star. But he’s been known to moonlight here and there as an actor for hire. By expanding (or contracting) his familiar, nebbishy screen persona, Brooks has fit into the visions of directors as disparate as Martin Scorsese and James L. Brooks. In the process, he’s etched some small but indelible turns.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Brooks made his movie debut as Cybill Shepherd’s pompous political coworker. He throws Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) out of campaign headquarters and lives to tell about it.
Private Benjamin (1980)
Brooks appears briefly as Goldie Hawn’s well-to-do bridegroom whose wedding-night heart attack sends her packing for boot camp.
Twilight Zone — The Movie (1983)
In the movie’s hilarious prologue, motorist Brooks picks up hitchhiker Dan Aykroyd and they talk TV trivia on a dark, deserted highway.
Unfaithfully Yours (1984)
Jealous maestro Dudley Moore is convinced that his wife, Nastassja Kinski, is having an affair. Best friend Brooks tries in vain to control the green-eyed monster.
Broadcast News (1987)
As one third of a fitfully romantic triangle of TV journalists (along with William Hurt and Holly Hunter), Brooks gave an Oscar-nominated performance.