Get to know the 'You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah' star’s mom and dad
Adam Sandler has his parents, Judy and Stanley Sandler, to thank for his love of comedy.
The You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah actor was raised in New Hampshire with his three older siblings, brother Scott Sandler and sisters Elizabeth and Valerie Sandler. His mother worked as a nursery school teacher and his father was an electrical contractor.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Judy was described as his biggest fan, and their close relationship shows in the loving maternal characters in Adam’s films. The Murder Mystery 2 star’s father, Stanley, was the inspiration for the character of Stanley Sugerman, a basketball recruiter Adam portrayed in 2022’s Hustle.
“My mother said how great I was all the time,” Adam said. “I started to believe her. But my father would be like, ‘You’re great, but you ain’t that great.' ”
Stanley died of lung cancer in 2003. Nearly two decades later, Adam paid tribute to his late father in a sweet series of Father’s Day tweets.
“We talk to our kids all the time about just how damn cool and smart he was and what he would have said in certain situations if he was here,” the actor-comedian wrote in part in 2022. “Miss that man everyday and thank him for his warmth, his love for my mom, and always putting his family first.”
So who are Adam Sandler's parents? Here’s everything to know about Judy and Stanley Sandler.
They raised Adam in New Hampshire
Born on Sept. 9, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York, Adam is the youngest of Judy and Stanley's children. When Adam was six, the couple moved him and his older siblings to Manchester, New Hampshire.
It was Scott who encouraged Adam to try his hand at comedy.
“If he hadn’t said to do it, I wouldn’t have thought it was a normal thing to do. I would have said, ‘Mom and Dad are going to get mad at me,’ ” Adam told Interview in 1994. “But because he told me to do it, and I knew that my parents respected his brain, I was like, ‘He said to do it, so it must be O.K.’ ”
The Billy Madison star recalls his childhood as happy, telling the Washington Post that his parents were supportive, with Judy praising his singing. When Adam was 12, Stanley bought his son an electric guitar, which the Saturday Night Live alum still takes out on stage.
“I didn’t have a lot of the pain that some comedians talk about, like problems with drugs and stuff like that. Everybody always had my back growing up," Adam told AARP. “When we had company, my mother would take peanuts out and put toothpicks in little meatballs and say, ‘Adam, play them a song.' They all loved me. They all laughed, even if some of the guests were probably thinking, We have to watch this f------ kid play guitar right now?"
When Adam was honored with the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2023, Judy got up on stage and talked about Adam's idyllic upbringing in New England, paying tribute to her son's "kind and thoughtful” sense of humor. She also joked about his lax clothing choices — "I say he's a slob” — before sharing, “We are so proud of him."
His parents weren’t in the industry but supported Adam’s Hollywood ambitions
Both Stanley and Judy gave Adam the freedom to pursue comedy. In fact, it was their initial love of the genre that made a lasting impression on a young Adam. While visiting the Hillcrest Country Club with the New York Times, he pointed to a photo of the Marx Brothers and said they were his favorite, explaining, “My father would wake me up, and I’d get to watch, you know, Duck Soup or A Night at the Opera.”
Growing up, he liked any comedian his parents liked, which included Buddy Hackett and Johnny Carson, telling CBS News he wanted to be like the latter because “he's making my dad happy.”
When Adam was in college, he would share his big dreams, and Stanley was happy to let his son pursue a career in Hollywood. If it didn’t work out by 23 or 24, Adam had “this fall back, work for dad thing,” which was joining his father as an electrical contractor. But he told CBS News that he was "so driven” to make his dream happen.
“I would just say to him, ‘No, no, no, I’m going to be fine. I’m going to make it. I'm going to do good. He'd be like, alright. He'd look at me like I was nuts,” Adam recalled. "My mother, on the other hand, was like, ‘Oh, he's going to be wonderful!’ Because she thought every move I made was great."
The Uncut Gems star added that his mom was easy to make laugh, though she often didn’t understand the joke, just that her son was trying to be funny.
“And then my father, man, when he laughed, boy, you were excited. You were excited that the big man was good and thought it was funny, because he was a smart guy,” Adam said.
Stanley died in 2003
Stanley died of lung cancer in 2003. He was 68.
During a 2019 segment on 60 Minutes where Adam gave a tour of his childhood home, Stanley was described as a big man with a big personality whom the Funny People star called his hero. Adam said as much on Twitter, now known as X, calling Stanley "the greatest man I ever knew.”
“Great husband. Great son. Great brother. Great dad to my sisters, my brother, and me. And always great to my wife!” he tweeted. “Love you so dad! I know I was a mistake but I know you had a good time! Thanks for having me and miss you everyday!”
Adam paid a similar tribute for Father’s Day 2022, saying he, his siblings and his wife, Jackie Sandler, all knew they “had a great one,” and when they “heard his footsteps coming down the hall… all the fun in the world was home.”
“Loved every meal, car ride, tv watch, late nite talk, phone call, beach day, boat trip, driving range, baseball catch, and giant family hang we had. He loved my wife a lot and she felt the same about him,” he wrote.
They made cameos in their son’s movies
Adam's movies are family affairs. Both Stanley and Judy voiced characters in 2002’s Eight Crazy Nights. Judy also did a voiceover for 2012’s Hotel Transylvania and has made cameos in 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, 2014's Blended and 2017's Sandy Wexler.
There is one thing Judy doesn't care for in any of her son's movies, though — specifically in one of his recent and most critically acclaimed films, Uncut Gems: foul language.
"My mother didn't teach me to curse and I didn't teach him. Where did you learn it?” Judy asked during the 60 Minutes segment at her home.
"I don't know where I got it, Ma," Adam responded, laughing. “But it's been fun.”
The first movie of Adam's to come out after Stanley's death was 2004's 50 First Dates, and there is a special dedication to him at the end of the film.
Stanley was able to see Adam work as an actor in live-action films — he stopped by the Little Nicky set to make sure the “shoot was goin smooth.”
“Nobody i could love like i loved this man. Think of you every day, pop. The whole family does,” Adam tweeted in 2021.
Adam’s parents aren't the only two family members who’ve appeared on screen with him. His daughters, Sadie and Sunny, both star in his newest movie, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, and can be seen in Hubie Halloween and Murder Mystery, as well as The Out-Laws for Sunny. Adam's wife, Jackie, is also in his new Netflix film, and she has appeared in many of his movies, starting with 1999’s Big Daddy, and his nephew, Jared, was in Pixels and Home Team.
Stanley partially inspired Adam's character in Hustle
In the 2022 Netflix film Hustle, Adam played Stanley Sugerman, a Philadelphia 76ers basketball scout named in honor of his late father.
“I was just basically doing my dad when he used to coach my teams growing up, his kind of demeanor,” Adam told ET Canada. “He’d push you but then he’d also say like, all right, I see my kid’s about to snap, let me pull back a little bit.
When Adam was growing up, Stanley supported all of his son's athletic endeavors, even if that meant getting up at 4 a.m. to get to practices.
"It was so many mornings I would wake up in my house and my father was up before everybody, and he was ready to go, and he woke you, he goes, ‘Come on, let’s get out there. Let’s hit some baseballs,' " Adam told reporters at a Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Society Q&A. “So anyways, I connected a lot with this character my pop.”
Judy has been her son's red carpet date
Adam made a Hustle outing into a major mother-son moment.
For a special screening at the Philadelphia Film Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the film took place, the actor brought his mother, Judy, along to the red-carpet affair. When the movie premiered in Los Angeles one week earlier, Adam was accompanied by his wife.
Judy has supported her son at plenty of big-name events over the years, including his Hand and Footprint Ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles in 2005, the L.A. premiere of Bedtime Stories in 2008 and a dinner for The Cobbler during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Stanley talked Adam out of joining the military
He may be a big movie star now but as a kid, Adam was convinced he was going to join the military.
A then-15-year-old Adam was giving this usual speech one night at the dinner table, and his father flat out said he wasn’t going to join because he “was a p----.”
“It made sense. 'Cause literally I would try to do one chin-up back there and my father would be like, ‘That’s going to join the military? Okay … ’ ” Adam recalled.
Adam is following in his parents' footsteps in raising his own kids
When it comes to raising his two teenage daughters, Adam has taken a page out of his parents’ playbook.
When asked by CBS News about the best advice his dad ever gave him, the Happy Gilmore star remembered what Stanley told one him one day after he had been upset: “That’s all right. You can't always be happy. You've just got to enjoy when happy comes and know that you're down for a reason and you'll eventually get out of it.”
"So I remember that one, but he gave me a million good ones. He wasn’t like a guy who sat and had quotes all day long. He kind of just was there for you, made us all feel good and strong, and you knew you were loved,” Adam said. “And my mother always made us feel loved, and that's kind of like how we’re doing it with our kids. My wife’s certainly good at that too.”
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