Jerome Allen Seinfeld (/ˈsaɪnfɛld/ SYNE-feld; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He is known for playing himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, which he created and wrote with Larry David. As a stand-up comedian, Seinfeld specializes in observational comedy; in 2005, Comedy Central named Seinfeld the "12th Greatest Stand-up Comedian of All Time."
Seinfeld produced, co-wrote and starred in the 2007 film Bee Movie. In 2010, he premiered a reality series called The Marriage Ref, which aired for two seasons on NBC. He is the creator and host of the web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York City. His father, Kálmán Seinfeld (1918-1985) was of Hungarian Jewish descent, and collected jokes that he heard while serving in World War II. His mother, Betty (née Hosni; 1915-2014), was of Syrian Jewish descent; her parents, Selim and Salha Hosni, were from Aleppo. His second-cousin is musician and actor Evan Seinfeld. Seinfeld grew up in Massapequa, New York, and attended Massapequa High School on Long Island. At the age of 16, he spent time volunteering in Kibbutz Sa'ar in Israel.
He attended State University of New York at Oswego, transferring after his second year to Queens College, City University of New York, graduating with a degree in communications and theater.
Seinfeld developed an interest in stand-up comedy after brief stints in college productions. He appeared on open-mic nights at Budd Friedman's Improv Club while attending Queens College. After graduation in 1976, he tried out at an open-mic night at New York City's Catch a Rising Star, which led to an appearance in a Rodney Dangerfield HBO special. In 1980, he had a small recurring role on the sitcom Benson, playing Frankie, a mail-delivery boy who had comedy routines that no one wanted to hear. Seinfeld was abruptly fired from the show due to creative differences. Seinfeld has said that he was not actually told he had been fired until he turned up for the read-through session for an episode and found that there was no script for him.
In May 1981, Seinfeld made a successful appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, impressing Carson and the audience and leading to frequent appearances on that show and others, including Late Night with David Letterman.
On September 5, 1987 his first one-hour special Stand-Up Confidential aired live on HBO.
SeinfeldMain article: Seinfeld Seinfeld at the 44th Emmy Awards in 1992
Seinfeld created The Seinfeld Chronicles with Larry David in 1988 for NBC. The show was later renamed Seinfeld to avoid confusion with the short-lived teen sitcom The Marshall Chronicles. By its fourth season, it had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. The final episode aired in 1998, and the show has been a popular syndicated re-run.
Along with Seinfeld, the show starred Saturday Night Live veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus and experienced actors Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. Alexander played George, a caricature of Larry David. Seinfeld is the only actor to appear in every episode of the show.
Seinfeld has said that his show was influenced by the 1950s sitcom The Abbott and Costello Show. In the "Seinfeld Season 6" DVD set, commenting on the episode "The Gymnast", Seinfeld cited Jean Shepherd as an influence, saying, "He really formed my entire comedic sensibility—I learned how to do comedy from Jean Shepherd."
From 2004 to 2007, the former Seinfeld cast and crew recorded audio commentaries for episodes of the DVD releases of the show. Seinfeld provided commentary for multiple episodes.
After he ended his sitcom, Seinfeld returned to New York City to make a comeback with his stand-up comedy rather than stay in Los Angeles and continue his acting career. In 1998 he went on tour and recorded a comedy special, titled 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 also featured fellow comic Orny Adams and was directed by Christian Charles. Seinfeld has written several books, mostly archives of past routines.
In the late 1990s, Apple Computer came up with the advertising slogan "Think different" and produced a 60-second commercial to promote the slogan. This commercial showed people who were able to "think differently", such as Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. It was later cut short to 30 seconds and altered such that Seinfeld was included at the end, whereas he had not been in the original cut. This shorter version of the commercial aired only once, during the series finale of Seinfeld.Seinfeld at the 1996 Emmy Awards
In 2004 Seinfeld appeared in two commercial webisodes promoting American Express, titled The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman. In these, Seinfeld appeared with a cartoon rendering of Superman, who was referenced in numerous episodes of Seinfeld as Seinfeld's hero, voiced by Patrick Warburton (character David Puddy on Seinfeld). The webisodes were directed by Barry Levinson and aired briefly on television. Seinfeld and "Superman" were also interviewed by Matt Lauer in a specially recorded interview for the Today show.
On November 18, 2004, Seinfeld appeared at the National Museum of American History to donate the "puffy shirt" he wore in the Seinfeld episode of the same name. He also gave a speech when presenting the "puffy shirt", saying humorously that "This is the most embarrassing moment of my life."
On May 13, 2006, Seinfeld had a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live as host Julia Louis-Dreyfus' assassin. Louis-Dreyfus in her opening monologue 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 where Seinfeld was standing, holding a large pair of bolt cutters. He angrily muttered, "Damn it!" upset that it did not hit her. Louis-Dreyfus continued to say that she is indeed not cursed.
On February 25, 2007, Seinfeld appeared at the 79th Academy Awards as the presenter for "Best Documentary." Before announcing the nominations, he did a short stand-up comedy routine about the unspoken agreement between movie theater owners and movie patrons.
On October 4, 2007, Seinfeld made a brief return to NBC, guest-starring as himself in the 30 Rock episode "SeinfeldVision."
On February 24, 2008, at the 80th Academy Awards, Seinfeld appeared as the voice of his Bee Movie animated character Barry, presenting "Best Animated Short." Before announcing the nominees, he showed a montage of film clips featuring bees, saying that they were some of his early work (as Barry).
On June 2, 2008, amidst his spring 2008 tour, Seinfeld performed in his hometown of New York City for a one-night-only show at the Hammerstein Ballroom to benefit Stand Up for a Cure, a charity aiding lung cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
In August 2008, the Associated Press reported that Jerry Seinfeld would be the pitchman for Windows Vista, as part of a $300-million advertising campaign by Microsoft. The ads, which were intended to create buzz for Windows in support of the subsequent "I'm a PC" advertisements, began airing in mid-September 2008. They were cut from television after three installments; Microsoft opted to continue with the "I'm a PC" advertisements and run the Seinfeld ads on the Microsoft website as a series of longer advertisements.
In March 2009, it was announced that Seinfeld and the entire cast of Seinfeld would be appearing for a reunion in Larry David's HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The fictional reunion took place in the seventh season's finale.
Seinfeld appeared on an episode of the Starz original series Head Case. As was the case in many of his previous guest appearances on sitcoms, he played himself.
In Australia, Seinfeld appeared on a series of advertisements for the Greater Building Society, a building society based in New South Wales and southeastern Queensland. His appearance in these ads was highly publicized and considered a coup for the society, being the third time Seinfeld had appeared in a television commercial. The advertisements were filmed in Cedarhurst, Long Island, with the street designed to emulate Beaumont Street in Hamilton, where the Greater's head offices are located. Seinfeld also wrote the scripts for the 15 advertisements that were filmed. The ads largely aired in the Northern New South Wales television market, where the society has most of its branches.
Seinfeld was the first guest on Jay Leno's talk show, The Jay Leno Show, which premiered on September 14, 2009.
Seinfeld was featured on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update sketch to do the "Really!?!" segment with Seth Meyers. He executive produced and occasionally starred as a panelist in The Marriage Ref. On August 30, 2010, Seinfeld made a surprise guest appearance on The Howard Stern Show, mending the feud the two had in the early '90s.
Seinfeld toured the U.S. in 2011 and made his first stand-up appearance in the UK in 11 years. In July 2011, he was a surprise guest on The Daily Show, helping Jon Stewart to suppress his urge to tell "cheap" "Michele Bachmann's husband acts gay" jokes. Seinfeld also launched a personal archives website at JerrySeinfeld.com and appeared in the HBO special Talking Funny with fellow comedians Chris Rock, Louis C.K., and Ricky Gervais in the same year.
In 2012 Seinfeld started a Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which he would pick up a fellow comedian in a different car each episode and take them out for coffee and conversation. The initial series consisted of ten episodes lasting from 7 to 25 minutes each. Season 2 (2013) had six episodes, with guests including Don Rickles and David Letterman.
In June 2013, he appeared on rapper Wale's album The Gifted, on the song "Outro About Nothing."
Seinfeld received coverage for his speech at the 2014 Clio Awards ceremony, where he received an honorary award, as media reporters said that he "mocked" and "ripped apart" the advertising industry; his statement of "I love advertising because I love lying" received particular attention.
On February 15, 2015, Seinfeld made a special appearance as a presenter on "SNL 40", the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live.
In January 2017, Seinfeld had signed a comedy deal with Netflix. As part of the deal, all episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee would be made available on the streaming service, in addition to a new twenty-four episode season. The deal also included two new Seinfeld stand-up specials and the development of scripted and non-scripted comedy programming for Netflix. On September 19, 2017, Netflix released the standup comedy special Jerry Before Seinfeld.
Seinfeld wrote the book Seinlanguage, released in 1993. Written as his television show was first rising in popularity, it is primarily an adaptation of his stand-up material. The title comes from an article in Entertainment Weekly listing the numerous catchphrases for which the show was responsible.
In 2002, he wrote the children's book Halloween. The book was illustrated by James Bennett.
Seinfeld wrote the forewords to Ted L. Nancy's Letters from a Nut series of books and Ed Broth's Stories from a Moron. Seinfeld also wrote the foreword to the Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook.
Seinfeld has cited as his influences the humorist Jean Shepherd, and the comedians Jerry Lewis, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Jay Leno, Robert Klein, and Abbott and Costello, and the actor Ricardo Montalban. Performers and producers influenced by Seinfeld include Judd Apatow, Kevin Hart, and Dennis Miller.
Personal lifeJessica and Jerry Seinfeld in 2010
Years before Seinfeld was created, Seinfeld dated Carol Leifer, a fellow comedian and one of the inspirations for the Seinfeld character of Elaine. On national TV with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, he explained how, in 1984, he was engaged but called it off. When he was in his late 30s, Seinfeld had a four-year romantic relationship with high school student Shoshanna Lonstein who was 17 years old when they began dating.
In August 1998, Seinfeld met Jessica Sklar at the Reebok Sports Club and they began dating. 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—she explained in a 2007 interview that they had been engaged in couples' therapy sessions prior to their marriage—and married Seinfeld on December 25, 1999. Comedian George Wallace was the best man at the wedding.
After the nuptials, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld bought Billy Joel's house in Amagansett, Long Island, for US$32 million after news of the couple's interest in the property became public in 2000.
The Seinfelds have one daughter and two sons. Their daughter Sascha was born on November 7, 2000; their first son Julian Kal was born on March 1, 2003; and their second son Shepherd Kellen was born on August 22, 2005—all in New York City. Julian's middle name, Kal, relates to the first name of Seinfeld's father, Kalman, and that of Seinfeld's hero Superman, aka Kal-El.
Among Seinfeld's best friends are fellow comedians George Wallace, Larry Miller, and Mario Joyner.
In 2000, Jessica Seinfeld launched Baby Buggy, a charity that provides clothing and gear for underprivileged women and children. 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.
Seinfeld has made several political contributions, including George W. Bush's and Al Gore's presidential campaigns in 2000, and subsequently to four Democratic Party primary candidates in 2000 and 2004.
Seinfeld stated that he dabbled in Scientology during his 30s, although he says he was never in the organization. The association came to light in 1992.
A fan of the New York Mets, Seinfeld periodically calls Steve Somers' show on WFAN-AM, a sports talk radio station, as "Jerry from Queens." Seinfeld called four innings of a Mets game on SportsNet New York on June 23, 2010, reuniting with analyst Keith Hernandez, who appeared in the Seinfeld two-part episode, "The Boyfriend."
In December 2012, Seinfeld said that he had been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 40 years. He promoted the use of the technique in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder with Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation in December 2012 on the Good Morning America television show, and also appeared at a 2009 David Lynch Foundation benefit for TM, at which Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared.
On November 5, 2015, the David Lynch Foundation organized a benefit concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall called "Change Begins Within" to promote transcendental meditation for stress control. "It's been the greatest companion technique of living that I've ever come across, and I'm thrilled to be part of this movement that seems to have really been reinvigorated by Bob and David Lynch", Seinfeld said. "I would do anything that I could to promote it in the world, because I think it's the greatest thing as a life tool, as a work tool and just making things make sense."
According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld's cumulative earnings from Seinfeld as of 2004 was $267 million, placing him at the top of the celebrity "money rank" that year. He reportedly turned down $5 million per episode, for 22 episodes, to continue the show for a 10th season.
Seinfeld earned $100 million from syndication deals and stand-up performances in 2004, and $60 million in 2006. He also earned $10 million for appearing with Bill Gates in Microsoft's 2008 advertisements for Windows.
Between June 2008 and June 2009, Seinfeld earned $85 million, making him the world's highest-paid comedian during that 12-month period. In 2013, Forbes documented Seinfeld's annual income as $32 million. In mid-2013, Seinfeld disputed Forbes' claims regarding his income and net worth on the radio show of Howard Stern.
Seinfeld was ranked by Forbes the highest-paid comedian for 2015, the second-highest paid in 2016 and the highest-paid again in 2017. Seinfeld's income between June 2016 and June 2017 was $69 million.
Seinfeld, an automobile enthusiast and avid collector, owns a collection of about 150 cars which includes a large Porsche collection. He rented 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. In 2002, Seinfeld purchased property on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City where he built a $1.4 million two-story garage to store part of his Porsche collection on the East Coast.
One tally has Seinfeld owning 43 Porsches. Paul Bannister has written that Seinfeld's collection includes Porsche 911s from various years, 10 Porsche Boxsters each painted a different color, and the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, the same model and pearl-grey color that actor James Dean was driving when he crashed and died.
The Discovery Channel television show Chasing Classic Cars claims that Seinfeld owns the first and last air-cooled Porsche 911s produced. The centerpiece is a $700,000 Porsche 959, one of only 337 built. He was not allowed to drive it, because the car was "not street legal", which is because U.S. emissions and crash tests were not performed for the model since Porsche refused to donate four Porsche 959s for destruction tests. He imported the car "for exhibition purposes", on the stipulation that it may never be driven on U.S. roads. The car was made U.S. street legal in 1999 under the "Show and Display" federal law. Seinfeld wrote an article for the February 2004 issue of Automobile, reviewing the Porsche Carrera GT.
In 2008, Seinfeld was involved in a car accident when the brakes on his 1967 Fiat 500 failed and, to avoid an intersection, he pulled the emergency brake while turning sharply, ultimately causing the car to come to a stop on its side. Seinfeld was unhurt.
In an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Seinfeld stated that he believes that the Lamborghini Miura is "the most beautiful car ever designed."
|1998||I'm Telling You for the Last Time||CD/Cassette/Streaming|
|2017||Jerry Before Seinfeld||LP|
|1999||I'm Telling You for the Last Time||VHS/DVD/Streaming|
|2017||Jerry Before Seinfeld||Streaming|
|1999||Pros & Cons||Prison Man #2||Cameo|
Also executive producer
|2005||The Thing About My Folks||Himself||Cameo|
|2007||Bee Movie||Barry B. Benson||Voice|
Also co-writer and producer
Nominated - Producers Guild of America Award for Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award - Animated
Nominated - Kids Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie
|2014||Top Five||Himself||Uncredited cameo|
|1982||An Evening at the Improv||Himself||Stand-up series|
|1984||The Ratings Game||Network Rep||Television film|
|1987||Stand-Up Confidential||Himself||HBO Stand-up special|
|1989-98||Seinfeld||Jerry Seinfeld||180 episodes; also co-creator, writer and executive producer|
|1992||Carol Leifer: Gaudy, Bawdy & Blue||Himself||Sketch comedy special|
|1992, 1999||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||2 episodes|
|1993, 1998||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||2 episodes|
|1997||NewsRadio||Himself||Episode: "The Real Deal"|
|1998||I'm Telling You for the Last Time||Himself||HBO Stand-up special|
|1998||Mad About You||Himself||Uncredited|
Episode: "Season Opener"
|1999||Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm||Himself||HBO mockumentary comedy special|
|2000||Dilbert||Comp-U-Comp (voice)||Episode: "The Return"|
|2004, 2009||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Himself||6 episodes|
|2007||30 Rock||Himself||Episode: "SeinfeldVision"|
|2010-11||The Marriage Ref||Himself||9 episodes; also creator and executive producer|
|2012, 2014||Louie||Himself||2 episodes|
|2012-present||Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee||Himself (host)||59 episodes; also creator and executive producer|
|2015||Inside Amy Schumer||Himself||Episode: "80s Ladies"|
|2016||The Jim Gaffigan Show||Himself||Episode: "The Calling"|
|2016||Maya & Marty||Himself||Episode #1.5|
|2017||Mystery Science Theater 3000||Freak Masterstroke||Episode: "Starcrash"|
|2017||If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast||Himself||HBO documentary film|
|2017||Jerry Before Seinfeld||Himself||Netflix Stand-up special|
Writing credits for Seinfeld
The list below only includes episodes mainly written by Seinfeld, as he (and Larry David in Seasons 1 through 7) rewrote the drafts for each episode.
- The Seinfeld Chronicles (with Larry David)
- Male Unbonding (with Larry David)
- The Stake Out (with Larry David)
- The Stock Tip (with Larry David)
- The Ex-Girlfriend (with Larry David)
- The Pony Remark (with Larry David)
- The Busboy (with Larry David)
- The Jacket (with Larry David)
- The Chinese Restaurant (with Larry David)
- The Phone Message (with Larry David)
- The Stranded (with Larry David and Matt Goldman)
- The Shoes (with Larry David)
- The Sniffing Accountant (with Larry David)
- The Raincoats (with Larry David, Tom Gammill, and Max Pross)
- The Opposite (with Larry David and Andy Cowan)
- The Kiss Hello (with Larry David)
- The Cadillac, Parts 1 and 2 (with Larry David)
Awards and nominations
Primetime Emmy Awards
|1991||Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series||Seinfeld||"The Pony Remark"||Nominated|
|1992||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||"The Boyfriend"||Nominated|
|1993||Outstanding Comedy Series||Won|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||"The Opera"||Nominated|
|1994||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||"The Puffy Shirt"||Nominated|
|1995||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||"The Diplomat's Club"||Nominated|
|1996||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||"The Gum"||Nominated|
|1997||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|1998||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|1999||Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special||I'm Telling You for the Last Time||Nominated|
|2013||Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program||Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee||Nominated|
|2014||Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program||Nominated|
|2016||Outstanding Variety Talk Series||Nominated|
- American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series (1992)
- American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series (1993)
- Nominated - American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series (1996)
- Nominated - American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series (1999)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1993)
- Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1994)
- Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1995)
- Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1997)
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1994)
- Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995)
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1996)
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1997)
Jerry Seinfeld supports the following charitable cause: Autism.