The Oscar winner’s overweight father, comedian Harry Einstein, struggled with multiple health problems when Brooks was a little boy, and the star admits it forced him to grow up quicker than most children.
He tells Vanity Fair magazine, “I think when you’re very, very, very young and you get a sense of the end before the beginning, it imprints you. In all possible ways.”
Einstein died of a heart attack aged 54 on 24 November, 1958 while he was performing onstage in Los Angeles, and Brooks reveals it made a huge impact on him as a budding teen.
He explains, “My dad died right after performing at the Friars’ roast for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. (I was) eleven and a half. Well he was so sick before that that I (wasn’t shocked)… But I worried about him way before. At six… He couldn’t walk. He had a spinal operation. Then he would walk slowly, like Frankenstein. And so he gained weight.
“Nothing about him was healthy. Every time we were alone and he called me, I thought he was dying. So when it happened, it wasn’t like, hey, he was the second-baseman and he woke up and died.”