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. In 1970, while aged 16, he spent a short period
of time volunteering in Kibbutz Sa'ar, in Israel. 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.
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
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.
He was ranked #12 in Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups
of All Time.
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.
From 2004–2007, 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".
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
Seinfeld also wrote the foreword to the Peanut Butter
& Co. Cookbook, from his favorite sandwich shop in New York
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."
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
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
When he was in his late thirties, Seinfeld began a romantic relationship
with then-seventeen year old high school student Shoshanna Lonstein.
By his early forties they were engaged, however the engagement ended
in 1997 when Shoshanna graduated from the University of California,
Los Angeles. 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. 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, son Julian Kal on March 1, 2003 in New York City,
and Shepherd Kellen was born on August 22, 2005 at New York's Cornell
Medical Center. 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. 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
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
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
According to Forbes magazine, Jerry Seinfeld's annual earning from
Seinfeld, in 1998, was $267 million, making him the highest-earning
celebrity that year. 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. He earned $100 million from syndication deals
and stand-up appearances in 2005 and $60 million in 2006.
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. The car was made US street legal in
1999 under the "Show or Display" federal law.
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
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.