Trained as an actor, Gene Saks organized a number of New York-based workshop organizations before making his Broadway debut. He began directing in 1963, helming such Neil Simon Broadway plays as Biloxi Blues and Brighton Beach Memoirs and such Simon-scripted films as Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Odd Couple (1968), and Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1986). Saks made his film acting bow in 1965, recreating his stage role as paranoid kiddie-show host Chuckles the Chipmunk in A Thousand Clowns. Saks is married to actress Beatrice Arthur, who co-starred in his 1974 film version of Mame. In 1995 Gene Saks directed the 1995 TV remake of the 1961 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie.