Celebrities & Pop Culture

Surprising Facts You Probably Never Knew About Adam Sandler

Oops! Did you know he was fired from "Saturday Night Live"?

Adam Sandler has been a staple in American comedy for nearly 30 years. And to think, being a comedian wasn’t even on his radar until his brother gave him the idea to perform at a Boston comedy club at age 17!

Sandler has kept people laughing through the ’90s and 2000s, with hit films like “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer” and “The Waterboy.”

Think you know everything about this super-successful funnyman? Think again! We’ve rounded up some facts about Sandler that might just surprise you.

He’s Released Two Albums That Have Gone Double Platinum

Sandler’s 1993 debut comedy album, titled “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You,” was not only nominated for a Grammy but also was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, meaning it had at least 2 million sales. His second album, “What the Hell Happened to Me?,” went double platinum too! In his career he’s released a total of five comedy albums, the most recent in 2004.

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Getty Images | Mike Coppola

He Was An R.A. In College

Sandler attended New York Univeristy, and during his time there served as a resident assistant to his fellow students.

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Getty Images | Robert Mora

He Was On ‘The Cosby Show’ As A Teen

Sandler’s first regular Hollywood gig was on “The Cosby Show,” at age 18. He played Theo Huxtable’s friend, Smitty.

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He Had A Regular Role On MTV

In the late ’80s, Sandler was a regular on MTV’s classic game show “Remote Control,” which was the network’s first original program that didn’t focus on music.

Viacom / MTV

He’s Charitable

In 2007, Sandler made news by donating $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire. He’s also lent his talents to fundraising events for autism awareness and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

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Getty Images | Antony Jones

Dennis Miller Helped Him Get On SNL

Saturday Night Live” cast member Dennis Miller suggested SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels check out Sandler. He joined the show as a writer in 1990, becoming a featured player the following season and a full-fledged cast member in 1993.

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Getty Images | Kevin Winter

He’s Apparently Really Popular On Netflix

Netflix doesn’t release viewing numbers but in 2014, the company signed Sandler to a contract to make four feature films for them, showing he must have a dedicated following there. Apparently happy with the results, Netflix signed yet another deal with the comedian in 2017 for four more movies.

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Getty Images | Monica Schipper

His Highest-Grossing Movie Is An Animated One

Sandler has been a box-office draw for more than 20 years now, but his highest grossing movie so far has been 2015’s “Hotel Transylvania 2.” The movie earned $473.2 million in theaters worldwide and $169.7 million in America alone. Both figures are records for the actor.

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Getty Images | Victor Chavez

 

He Was Fired From ‘SNL’

Sandler and Chris Farley, were fired from “Saturday Night Live” in 1995. Rumor has it that it was for mooning people and making prank calls from the SNL Offices, and Sandler told Howard Stern in 2015 that it was NBC “top brass” who did the firing not Lorne Michaels.

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Getty Images | Larry Busacca

He’s Worth How Much?!

Depending on the source you read, estimates place Sandler’s net worth at anywhere from $300 to $400 million. Not bad!

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Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Neil Diamond Has Covered One Of His Greatest Hits

Sandler’s infamous “Chanukah Song” debuted on “SNL” on December 3, 1994. It’s become a comedy holiday classic and even Neil Diamond has recorded a rendition of it.

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Getty Images | Jerritt Clark

He Was Judd Apatow’s Roommate

Before they both found fame and fortune, Sandler and director Judd Apatow shared a $900 per month apartment in California.

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Getty Images | Jason Merritt

His Production Company’s Name Sounds Familiar

In 1999, Sandler founded his own production company, Happy Madison Productions. The name Happy Madison comes from the titles of two of his most beloved movies, “Happy Gilmore” and “Billy Madison.”

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Getty Images | Monica Schipper

His Wife And Child Were In One Of His Movies

In the 2012 animated movie “Hotel Transylvania,” Sandler’s real-life wife, Jackie, and his older daughter, Sadie, did the voices of his character’s wife and young daughter.

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He Could Have Been In ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’

Did you know Sandler was considered to voice the part of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s spitfire Rocket Racoon? Of course the part eventually went to Bradley Cooper.

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Getty Images | Marc Andrew Deley

People Really, Really Love Him

If you’re a Sandler fan, this one may not be a big surprise. Sandler has won nine People’s Choice Awards in his career, including five consecutive trophies in the favorite comedic star/favorite comedic movie actor category, from 2011 to 2015.

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Getty Images | Kevin Winter

He’s On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

In 2001, his star became star number 2,431 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “Happy Days” star and Sandler collaborator Henry Winkler spoke at the dedication ceremony.

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Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

His Movies Once Made $400 million In 16 Months

Sandler became a massive box-office draw in the late ’90s. In a span of 16 months, from February 1998 to June 1999, he released three movies (“The Wedding Singer,” “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy”) that grossed more than a combined $405 million in America alone. His box-office dominance continued through the 2000s.

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Getty Images | Ronald Martinez

His Wife Converted To Judaism Before They Got Married

Sandler was raised Jewish. His wife, Jackie, converted to Judaism in 2000, three years before the couple tied the knot.

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He Gets Stage Fright

Sandler told Howard Stern in 2015 that he gets anxiety about performing live.

“On ‘Saturday Night Live’ I was always better at dress rehearsal because in my brain I knew no one was seeing that one,” he said.

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He’s Had Some Pretty Bad Movies

It’s not surprising that some of Sandler’s movies have been flops (hey, you can’t win ’em all!). In fact, at least two of his films have hit zero percent on the movie rating site, Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, this means that not a single critic liked  “Ridiculous 6” “Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star.” But don’t feel bad. Despite scoring 10 percent and seven percent respectively, “Grown Ups” and “Grown Ups 2” still combined for roughly $517 million at the box office.

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Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

He Actually Hit 6-Year-Olds With Dodgeballs

In”Billy Madison,” Sandler took creative control of the hilarious, albeit somewhat controversial, dodgeball scene in which he decided to actually hit his fellow child actors with dodgeballs, instead of just pretending.

“There’s a dodgeball scene, and I’m hitting all these first graders really hard with a dodgeball… I hit some kid pretty hard and he gets upset and he starts crying,” he recalls during a 2017 interview on “Conan.” “The parents come up to me and they’re like, ‘That’s a kid. You nailed that kid!’ And I’m like, ‘No, no, no. That’s the scene!’” he continues. “I said, ‘Didn’t they read the script?’ and they go, ‘They’re 6, they don’t read yet.’”

Universal Pictures/IMDB

He Made Netflix History

In his Western comedy “The Ridiculous 6,” Sandler plays an outlaw raised by Native Americans who finds out he has five half-brothers. The crew, which features Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner and Rob Schneider, set out to find their father. The film was completely destroyed by critics, however, by 2016 figures the movie was watched more times in 30 days than any other movie in Netflix history.

Netflix

His Dad Was A Comedic Influence

His father, though not a comedian and rather an electrical engineer, influenced him to become a comedian.  Sandler has said that his father had a temper, which ultimately led Sandler to develop a sense of humor to help calm him down.

Sandler now has two children himself: daughters Sunny, 9, and Sadie, 12.

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He’s Got His Favorites

Sandler frequently recasts his friends in his films. Back in 2013, Vulture added up how many Sandler films all his buddies have appeared in. At the time, Allen Covert topped the list with 15 Sandler productions including “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer,” “The Waterboy” and “Mr. Deeds.” A close second was Rob Schneider who’s been in over 11 including “50 First Dates,” “The Longest Yard” and “Grown Ups.”

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Getty Images | Christopher Polk

His First Film Role Was As Shecky Moskowitz

His first movie, “Going Overboard,” in which he plays a struggling stand-up comic on a cruise ship that ends up getting attacked by terrorists, was a flop. The 1989 film also featured Billy Zane and Billy Bob Thornton. Though it didn’t do well initially, it was released on home video after Sandler became more popular.

IMBD/Lions Gate

He Was Almost In ‘Collateral’

The part of Max, the cab driver, in the 2004 Tom Cruise movie “Collateral” was written with Sandler in mind. However, after the director reworked the script, the role went to Jamie Foxx, who earned an Oscar nomination for it.

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Flickr | Gage Skidmore

The Sandlerverse Is A Real Thing (maybe)

YouTuber Shawn Kohne has a theory that every Sandler movie is connected in some type of way and moreover, each movie takes place in the same universe. To back up his claim, he refers to the same characters, jokes and props that pop up in multiple Sandler films, all starting with the movie “50 First Dates.” Whether or not this is entirely true, the theory is pretty entertaining.

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He Has A Say In Who Wins An Oscar

In 2010, Sandler was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This means he gets to vote on the Oscar winners each year. Zoe Saldana, U2, Anna Kendrick and more were also accepted into the academy that same year.

'The Meyerowitz Stories' Photocall - The 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Getty Images | Antony Jones

He Met His Wife Through Rob Schneider

Adam first met now-wife Jackie Titone, an actress and model, on the set of the movie “Big Daddy.” They have Rob Schneider to thank for the introduction, as he had worked with her on “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.” Schneider introduced her to Sandler while he was casting for “Big Daddy,” and Sandler offered her a role. They married in 2003.

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Getty Images | Jason Kempin