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Jerome "Jerry" Seinfeld (born on April 29, 1954 in Brooklyn, New York) is a Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning American comedian, actor and writer. He is often described as an observational comedian. He is best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the long-running situation comedy, Seinfeld, (1989 - 1998), which he co-created, helped write and, in the show's final two seasons, executively produced. He also starred as "Barry B. Benson" in the film Bee Movie, his first major foray back into the media industry since the finale of Seinfeld.

Early life

Seinfeld's father, Kálmán, was of Hungarian-Jewish background and his mother, Betty, is of Syrian-Jewish descent. He grew up in Massapequa, New York, where he attended Massapequa High School.[1] In 1970, while aged 16, he spent a short period of time volunteering in Kibbutz Sa'ar, in Israel.[2] He went to SUNY Oswego, and after his sophomore year he transferred and graduated from Queens College, City University of New York. He developed an interest in stand-up comedy after brief stints in college productions.[3] Right after graduation from Queens College, he tried out at an open mic night at New York City's Catch a Rising Star in 1976. Soon after, he appeared in a Rodney Dangerfield HBO special. When he first started doing stand-up comedy, his mother and sister said he would never be as funny as his father.

Seinfeld had a small recurring role as "Frankie", a mail delivery boy who had comedy routines that no one wanted to hear, on the Benson sitcom in 1979 but he was abruptly fired from the show.

In May 1981, Seinfeld made a highly successful appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He then became a regular on similar shows, including Late Night with David Letterman and The Merv Griffin Show. He was known for his incredibly dedicated and devoted work ethic; it is said that he traveled in an intense snowstorm to a comedy club just to find it empty.[citation needed] He was ranked #12 in Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.


Seinfeld
Main article: Seinfeld

Seinfeld created The Seinfeld Chronicles with Larry David in 1989 for NBC. The show was later renamed Seinfeld to avoid confusion with the short-lived teen sitcom The Marshall Chronicles and, by its fourth season, had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. The show left the air in 1998; as of 2008, it is still receiving heavy airplay in syndication. The show also starred Saturday Night Live veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as well as experienced actors Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. On the show, Seinfeld played a caricature of himself. He has said that his show was inspired by the 1950s sitcom The Abbott and Costello Show. About his influences, Seinfeld, in his commentary for "The Gymnast" episode on "Seinfeld, Season 6," said, "He really formed my entire comedic sensibility--I learned how to do comedy from Jean Shepherd." Seinfeld also holds the distinction of being the only actor to appear in every episode of the show.[4]

From 20042007, the former Seinfeld cast and crew recorded audio commentaries for episodes of the DVD releases of the show. Seinfeld himself provided commentary for Season 1's "The Stakeout", Season 2's "The Deal", Season 3's "The Pen" and "The Pez Dispenser", Season 4's "The Contest" and "The Junior Mint", Season 5's '"The Opposite", Season 6's "The Gymnast" and "The Race", Season 7's "The Soup Nazi", "The Pool Guy" and "The Calzone", Season 8's "The Chicken Roaster", "The Abstinence" and "The Pothole" and Season 9's "The Strike".


Post-Seinfeld

After his sitcom ended, Seinfeld returned to stand-up comedy instead of pursuing a film career as most other popular comedians have done. In 1998, Seinfeld went on tour and recorded a comedy special entitled I'm Telling You for the Last Time. The process of developing and performing new material at clubs around the world was chronicled in a 2002 documentary, Comedian, which focused also on fellow comic Orny Adams, directed by Christian Charles. He has written a few books, mostly archives of past routines.

In 2004, Seinfeld also appeared in two commercial webisodes promoting American Express, entitled The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman, in which he appeared together with an animated rendering of Superman, who was referenced in numerous episodes of Seinfeld as Seinfeld's hero, voiced by Patrick Warburton, who had portrayed David Puddy on Seinfeld. The webisodes were aired in 2004 and directed by Barry Levinson. Seinfeld and "Superman" were also interviewed by Matt Lauer in a specially-recorded interview for the Today show.

Apple Computer in the late 1990s came up with an advertising slogan called "Think different" and produced a 60-second commercial to promote the slogan which showed people who were able to "think differently", like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many others. This commercial was later cut short to thirty seconds and ended up paying tribute to Jerry Seinfeld. This commercial aired only once, during the series finale of Seinfeld.[5]

On November 18, 2004, Seinfeld appeared at the Smithsonian Museum where the "Puffy Shirt" he wore in the famous Seinfeld episode of the same name, was being donated. He also gave a speech when presenting the "Puffy Shirt", claiming humorously that "This is the most embarrassing moment of my life."

Seinfeld had a special appearance on May 13, 2006 Saturday Night Live episode as Julia Louis-Dreyfus' assassin. Louis-Dreyfus was the host of that episode and in her opening monologue she mentioned the "Seinfeld Curse". While talking about how ridiculous the "curse" was, a stage light suddenly fell next to her. The camera moved to a catwalk above the stage that Seinfeld was standing on, holding a large pair of bolt cutters. He angrily muttered something about the curse, apparently angry that Louis-Dreyfus is not cursed. Louis-Dreyfus then continued to say that she is indeed not cursed.

On an episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart remarked on the fact that Seinfeld did not change his name for the purpose of show business but then went on to ask what he would call himself if he did change it. Jerry then jokingly said, "Well, I would keep my last name, so as not to offend my parents and I would have to go with Jesus."

On February 25, 2007, Seinfeld appeared at the 79th Academy Awards as the presenter for "Best Documentary". Before announcing the nominations he did a bit of a stand-up comedy routine about the unspoken agreement between movie theater owners and movie patrons. One of the winners of the award was Larry David's now ex-wife, Laurie.

On October 4, 2007, Seinfeld made a brief return to NBC, guest-starring in the second-season premiere of 30 Rock, playing another fictional version of himself.[6]

During an interview in relation to his appearance on 30 Rock, Seinfeld stated that this was his first time as a guest star on a sitcom. In fact, Seinfeld has guest starred or had cameos in NewsRadio, Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The New WKRP in Cincinnati.

On November 1, 2007, Jerry Seinfeld appeared at the Daily Show to promote his animated movie and suggested that he might shoot another scene for Seinfeld.[7]

On November 30, 2007, while promoting Bee Movie, Seinfeld appeared on The Late Late Show in Ireland. However, when Seinfeld came out on stage presenter Pat Kenny seemingly had no clue who Jerry Seinfeld was and engaged in an awkward interview for about five minutes. Kenny would go on to call Seinfeld "Jerry Seinfield" twice before the interview was over and then handed Jerry a cheaply made Superman action figure as a Christmas gift. At first, Seinfeld believed this to be a joke, due to the cheapness of the doll, but soon realized that it was meant to be a genuine gift and seemed somewhat confused. Kenny then asked Seinfeld "what's next for him?", a question generally asked to up and coming actors, not renowned stars, such as Seinfeld. Seinfeld later stated that he found the entire incident "highly perplexing."

On February 24, 2008, Seinfeld appeared as the voice of his Bee Movie animated character Barry, at the 80th Academy Awards as the presentor for "Best Animated Short". Before anouncing the nominees, he showed a montage of film clips featuring bees, claiming that they were some of his early work (as Barry).

Amidst his spring 2008 tour Jerry Seinfeld will be making a stop in his hometown of New York City for a one-night-only performance on June 2, 2008 at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden to benefit Stand Up for a Cure SUFAC, a charity aiding lung cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

On March 7, 2008, the New York Post reported Seinfeld "may be ready to get back on network television and rip off his pal Larry David's idea with his whole "Curb Your Enthusiasm" story line." According to the report, "the series, which is aiming for a June (2008) premiere, will be set in New York and will feature Jerry Seinfeld playing himself in an exaggerated reality."


Books
Seinfeld is also a bestselling author, most notably for his book Seinlanguage. Released in 1993, the book went on to become a number one New York Times bestseller. The book, written as his television show was first rising in popularity, is primarily an adaptation of the comedian's standup material. The title comes from an article in Entertainment Weekly listing the numerous catch-phrases the show was responsible for.

In 2003, he wrote a children's book titled Halloween. The book was illustrated by James Bennett. There are also several books about both the sitcom and Seinfeld himself, though many of them are not written by Seinfeld.

Seinfeld completed the forewords to Ted L. Nancy's Letters from a Nut series of books and Ed Broth's Stories from a Moron. Both authors are rumored to be pseudonyms for Seinfeld or a friend of his. Neither Nancy or Broth have been seen publicly, although Seinfeld is heavily involved in pitching their books for television. In promoting Broth's book, Seinfeld hosted a toast in the author's honor. Broth did not attend.[8]

Seinfeld also wrote the foreword to the Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook, from his favorite sandwich shop in New York City.


Lawsuit
On January 7, 2008, Missy Chase Lapine, author of "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals", sued Jerry Seinfeld and wife Jessica Seinfeld for plagiarism, or copyright and trademark infringement in the Manhattan, U.S. District Court. Richard Menaker, the Seinfelds' counsel, accused Lapine of seeking publicity on the book's sales. In October 2007, HarperCollins had published Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food."[9]


Credits

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1984 The Ratings Game Network Rep
1999 Pros & Cons Prison Man #2
2002 Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
2004 A Uniform Used to Mean Something Jerry Seinfeld
Hindsight Is 20/20 Jerry Seinfeld
2007 Bee Movie Barry Bee Benson Voice


Television
Year Title Role
1980 Benson Frankie
1989 - 1998 Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld
1997 Newsradio Jerry Seinfeld
2000 Dilbert Comp-U-Comp
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm (cameo) Jerry Seinfeld
2007 30 Rock ("SeinfeldVision") Jerry Seinfeld


Private life
When he was in his late thirties, Seinfeld began a romantic relationship with then-seventeen year old high school student Shoshanna Lonstein.[10] By his early forties they were engaged, however the engagement ended in 1997 when Shoshanna graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.[citation needed] After, for a short period of time he dated Carol Leifer, who was the model for Elaine's character on Seinfeld. A while later, after meeting Jessica Sklar at the Reebok Sports Club, he began dating her. Sklar, a public relations executive for Tommy Hilfiger, had just returned from a three-week honeymoon in Italy with Eric Nederlander, a theatrical producer and scion of a theater-owning family. Sklar divorced Nederlander and married Seinfeld on December 25, 1999.[11] Comedian George Wallace was the best man at the wedding. After the nuptials, Seinfeld bought Billy Joel's Amagansett house for $32 million in March 2000.

Seinfeld and his wife have three children, one daughter and two sons. Daughter Sascha was born on November 7, 2000 in New York City,[12] son Julian Kal on March 1, 2003 in New York City,[13] and Shepherd Kellen was born on August 22, 2005 at New York's Cornell Medical Center.[14][15] His son Julian's middle name is Kal, which is the first name of Seinfeld's father. Kal is also the first name of Seinfeld's hero Kal-El (Superman). Seinfeld's best friend is fellow comedian Larry Miller.

In 2000, Jessica Seinfeld launched Baby Buggy, a charity that provides clothing and gear for the infants and young children of poor, abused, addicted, and homeless women. She is the author of the best-seller Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, released by HarperCollins in October 2007.[16] As was reported in The New York Times, the recipes and concepts presented in Deceptively Delicious bore striking similarities to some of those in another cookbook, The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine published by Running Press in April 2007.

On March 29, 2008, Seinfeld was driving in East Hampton, New York when the brakes on his 1967 Fiat 500[17][18][19] failed. After trying to stop the car using the emergency brake, which also failed, he swerved to keep the car from entering an intersection with a highway and ended up rolling the car onto its side, stopping yards from the highway. The wreck was attributed to mechanical failure. Seinfeld did not require medical attention and returned to his East Hampton home.[20]

Seinfeld is recorded as having made several political campaign contributions. In 1999, he supported the Republican 'Bush for President' campaign and subsequently donated to four Democratic hopefuls.[21]


Personal income
According to Forbes magazine, Jerry Seinfeld's annual earning from Seinfeld, in 1998, was $267 million, making him the highest-earning celebrity that year.[22] Seinfeld still generates more revenue than most current shows, through syndication. He reportedly turned down $5 million per episode, for 22 episodes, to continue the show beyond its final season.[23] He earned $100 million from syndication deals and stand-up appearances in 2005 and $60 million in 2006.[24][25]


Car collection
Seinfeld is an avid automobile enthusiast and collector and is rumored to own one of the largest Porsche collections in the world. He rented out a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, in Santa Monica, California, for an extended period of time during the 1990s, for storage of some of the vehicles in the collection. After his return to New York City he was involved in an extended dispute with several neighbors over the proposed building of a $1.4 million multi-story garage to contain the cars.

A current tally puts Seinfeld at 46 Porsches. Reporter Paul Bannister reports that his collection includes Porsche 911s from various years, 10 Porsche Boxsters each painted a different color and the famous, some would say infamous,1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, the same model and pearl-grey color that actor James Dean was driving when he crashed and died in September 1955 near Cholame, California. The centerpiece is a $700,000 Porsche 959, one of only 268 ever built. To his initial despair, he was not allowed to drive it as US emission and crash tests were never performed because Porsche refused to donate four Porsche 959s for destruction tests, rendering the car "not street-legal". He imported the car "for exhibition purposes", which stipulates the car may never be driven on American roads.[26] The car was made US street legal in 1999 under the "Show or Display" federal law.[27][28] In several episodes of Seinfeld, Seinfeld drives a Saab 900 (NG) convertible, but a Porsche-themed painting, depicting a Porsche 904 GTS race car competing in the 1964 Targa Florio race in Italy, is visible on a wall in his apartment, as well as a Porsche racing poster featuring a 550 Spyder depicting the 1958 Targa Florio. In another episode, he is seen hiding behind a red Porsche 911RS parked on the street. In addition, an issue of Excellence, a Porsche-centered publication, is featured prominently on an outdoor magazine rack in one episode and on at least one occasion he is seen reading an issue of Road and Track magazine from circa 1990 with a cover article on the Porsche 964. He also wrote an article for the February 2004 issue of Automobile, reviewing the Porsche Carrera GT. For the story he was awarded Road Pest - Silver at the 2004 International Automotive Media Awards.

Additionally, it is rumored that Seinfeld may be one of the hosts for the American adaptation of the British automotive show Top Gear, rumored to simply be named Gear in the United States.

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