Jim Abrahams

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

Jim Abrahams
James S. Abrahams

(1944-05-10) May 10, 1944
OccupationFilm director, film producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Nancy Cocuzzo

Life and career

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] His family was Jewish; 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.

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



Year Title Director Writer Executive Producer Actor Role
1977 The Kentucky Fried Movie No Yes No Yes Technician #1 / Announcer
1980 Airplane! Yes Yes Yes Yes Religious Zealot #6
1984 Top Secret! Yes Yes Yes Yes German Soldier in Prop Room
1986 Ruthless People Yes No No No
1988 Big Business Yes No No No
Coming to America No No No Yes Face on Cutting Room Floor
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! No Yes Yes No
1990 Cry-Baby No No Yes No
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Yes No No No
1991 Oscar No No No Yes Postman
Hot Shots! Yes Yes No No
The Naked Gun 2 12: The Smell of Fear No No Yes No
1993 Hot Shots! Part Deux Yes Yes No No
1994 Naked Gun 33 13: The Final Insult No No Yes No
An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet (short documentary) Yes No No No
1998 Mafia! Yes Yes No No
2006 Scary Movie 4 No Yes No No


Year Title Director Writer Producer Actor Role Notes
1972 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson No No No Yes Performer TV Series; part as Kentucky Fried Theatre in one episode
1974 The Midnight Special No No No Yes Performer TV Series; part as Kentucky Fried Theatre in one episode
1982 Police Squad! Yes Yes Executive No Creator TV Series, 6 episodes (wrote and directed pilot)
1997 ...First Do No Harm Yes No Executive No TV Movie
2019 Late Night Berlin No No Creative No Episode 'Folge 42'


  1. Desser, David; Friedman, Lester D. American Jewish Filmmakers. p. 166. ISBN 9780252071539.
  2. 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.
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