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Who is Jerry Seinfeld?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian, writer and actor born Jerome Seinfeld on 29 April 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. He entered show business as a stand-up comic. He later became known for starring in and co-writing his hit situation comedy, Seinfeld.

When Jerry Seinfeld was growing up, his father, Kalman, had his own sign making business called Seinfeld Signs. His mother, Betty, did tailoring work from home to help bring in family income. He has one sister, Carolyn. The family moved from Brooklyn, New York to Massapequa, Long Island when the children were young.

He went to Oswego College and then Queen College in New York. He did some stand-up comedy in college and after graduating, he tried out a routine at Catch a Rising Star comedy club in New York in 1976. He performed in New York comedy clubs as well as resorts in the Catskills and had a spot on Rodney Dangerfield's 1976 Home Box Office (HBO) special.

After appearing on the popular program The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in May 1981 at the age of 27, his comedy began to climb. He had a recurring role on the 1979 situation comedy, Benson. He was fired suddenly and decided that he would only do another television show if he had more involvement in it.

NBC asked Seinfeld and Larry David, another comic and friend of Jerry's, to create the situation comedy The Seinfeld Chronicles in 1989. The name of the show was later shortened and other changes were made as the first effort was not doing too well in the ratings. The addition of a female character, Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as Seinfeld's ex-girlfriend and now friend, helped make the show a success.

The show became a huge hit with a large fan base. Seinfeld and David gained fame for writing what was said by some to be a "show about nothing." The show revolves around the details of life rather than the big moments. Episodes revolve around trivial matters such as whether it is okay to give a gift you received from someone as a gift to someone else — a practice termed "re-gifting." In the language of the show, if someone does this, he or she is a "re-gifter." If a person speaks very quietly, they are a "low talker."

The show ran nine seasons. Jerry Seinfeld married Jessica Sklar in 1999 and they had three children. They purchased Billy Joel's house in The Hamptons for $32 million US Dollars (USD) in 2000. His sister, Carolyn Liebling, continues to be his manager.

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