AKA Jerome Seinfeld
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: A show about nothing
Jerry Seinfeld's father ran Seinfeld Signs, a one-man signmaking shop, and his mother took work as a home-based tailor to help balance the perpetually-tight family budget. Seinfeld was eight years old, watching TV with his parents, when he figured out that comedy could be a profession. "I remember my parents telling me, 'This man's job is to come out and be funny for people.'"
While studying theater at Queens College, Seinfeld started doing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. He became known for his odd observations on everything, with fragile but fine-tuned lines that were clever when he recited them, but seemed droll when published in the newspaper or uttered by anyone else. With income augmented (and gigs publicized) by frequent appearances on Carson's Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, Seinfeld eventually became as rich and famous as he was funny. He was briefly a regular on Benson, but the experience to him was not a good one, and he vowed not to do another TV series unless he had some creative control.
As pitched to network executives by Seinfeld and pal Larry David, the idea was originally called The Seinfeld Chronicles. It was supposed to be about the life from which a comedian draws his jokes (hence the recurring motif of riffs from Seinfeld's stand-up act). Seinfeld and David later said this wasn't really the show's concept, it was just the concept they thought NBC would buy. Plagued by low ratings and barely renewed for a second season, Seinfeld evolved into a funny, literate, cynical sitcom about an anal-retentive, Superman-obsessed comic and his small circle of friends, and though it didn't crack the ratings' top 30 until its fourth season, by its sixth season it was #1. Structured unlike typical sitcoms, many episodes involved each of the four central characters in some strange situation without the other three, with the narrative eventually intertwining these separate stories into an observant finale funnier than the sum of its parts.
Seinfeld played a fictionalized version of himself, with Michael Richards as oddball neighbor Cosmo Kramer, Jason Alexander as loser George Costanza, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as ex-girlfriend Elaine Benes. Since it starred Seinfeld as Seinfeld, many observers have blurred perceptions of what was fiction and what was reality. The character of George was openly based on Larry David, and Kramer was inspired by a pot-smoking friend, Kenny Kramer. Other aspects of the sitcom, from the soup nazi to Seinfeld's water-soaked jacket, were based on real events in the lives of Seinfeld or David. Several of Seinfeld's ex-girlfriends have commented that they find the show difficult to watch, because they recognized bits and pieces of their relationships with the star. Numerous sources claim Elaine's character was based on Seinfeld's one-time real-life girlfriend Carol Leifer, but the people who would know -- Leifer and Seinfeld -- deny it.
Friends have described the real Seinfeld's personal hygiene as exemplary, just like on the show. Yesterday's underwear was never on the floor, and he had already taken out yesterday's trash. Even before Seinfeld, when Seinfeld was making thousands of dollars a week doing stand-up, he wouldn't wash his suits, but instead just threw them out and bought new suits.
Since 1992, Seinfeld has been celebrity spokesman for American Express. In 1998, he was reportedly offered $5 million per episode to film a tenth season, but declined, in what the Guinness Book of World Records now calls the highest offer turned down in show-biz history. He made an estimated $225 million when Seinfeld reruns were sold into syndication. Those who know him say the money hasn't changed Seinfeld very much, but he now launders his suits instead of tossing them into the trash. The "puffy shirt", designed by Kramer's whispersome girlfriend and worn by an embarrassed Seinfeld, is now at the Smithsonian.
Father: Kalman (sign maker, d. 1985)
Mother: Betty (homemaker, b. 1915)
Sister: Carolyn Liebling (Seinfeld's business manager, b. 1952)
Girlfriend: Caryn Trager (student, together, 1973-78)
Girlfriend: Monica Yates (together late 1970s, early 1980s)
Girlfriend: Carol Leifer (comedian-writer, together early 1980s)
Girlfriend: Susan McNabb (hand model, together 1983-90)
Girlfriend: Tawny Kitaen (model-actress, dated early 1990s)
Girlfriend: Shoshanna Lonstein (high school student, later fashion designer, together 1993-97)
Girlfriend: Jennifer Crittenden (television writer, together 1998)
Wife: Jessica Seinfeld (m. 25-Dec-1999, one daughter, two sons)
Daughter: Sascha Seinfeld (b. 7-Nov-2000)
Son: Julian Kal Seinfeld (b. 1-Mar-2003)
Son: Shepherd Kellen Seinfeld (b. 22-Aug-2005)
High School: Massapequa High School, Long Island, NY (1972)
University: State University of New York at Oswego
University: BA Theater and Communication, Queens College New York (1976)
Bill Bradley for President
John Kerry for President
Converted to Scientology
Endorsement of American Express
Endorsement of Hewlett-Packard (2007)
Endorsement of Microsoft Windows Vista (2008)
Curb Your Enthusiasm Jerry Seinfeld (2004-09)
Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld (1990-98)
Benson Frankie (1980-81)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Top Five (6-Sep-2014)
Quality Balls (2-May-2013) · Himself
Bee Movie (28-Oct-2007) [VOICE]
The Thing About My Folks (2-Jun-2005)
Pros and Cons (1999)
Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time (9-Aug-1998) · Himself
The Ratings Game (15-Dec-1984)
Author of books:
Seinlanguage (1993, humor)
Letters From A Nut (1999, humor, as Ted L. Nancy)
Stories From A Moron (2004, humor, as Ed Broth)
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