SEINFELD, JERRY (1954– ), U.S. comedian and television star. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Seinfeld grew up in the Long Island town of Massapequa. He graduated from Queens College, New York, in 1976, with a double major in theater and communications. He worked at a variety of odd jobs while trying to break into the field of stand-up comedy. His big break came when he was talent-spotted for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in 1981. His first appearance was a success and the prelude to dozens more on the same program. He also became a regular on David Letterman's Late Night show after that program debuted in 1982. In 1987 he enjoyed his first solo television credit with "Jerry Seinfeld: Stand-Up Confidential," while in 1988 he earned an American Comedy Award as Funniest Male Stand-up Comic. In 1988 Seinfeld and his friend larry david developed the idea for the Seinfeld show, based upon the daily life of a stand-up comedian and his group of friends. It premiered on NBC in July 1989 and maintained its status as one of the most popular and successful of American television sitcoms (1990–98). Proclaiming itself as being about nothing, the show follows the interactions and involvements of four neurotic and self-centered characters – Jerry Seinfeld as played by himself, Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), George Costanza (jason alexander ), and Elaine Benes (julia louis-dreyfus ) – surrounded by a cast of no less quirky characters, as they sit around and talk themselves into impossibly complicated situations. The show spares no one, not even the handicapped, cruising along blithely and irreverently with its distinct brand of New York cynicism and its own brand of good-humored callousness. Nominated nine times for an Emmy, Seinfeld – and Seinfeld – took home the award in 1993 for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 1992 and 1993 he won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series. In 1998, he wrote and starred in a one-man benefit show entitled Jerry Seinfeld: Live on Broadway. Seinfeld wrote the books Seinlanguage (1994) and Sein Off (1998), and the children's book Hallowe'en (2002). -ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Levine, Jerry Seinfeld: Much Ado about Nothing (1993); J. Oppenheimer, Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon (2002). (Rohan Saxena and Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Seinfeld, Jerry — born April 29, 1954, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S. U.S. comedian and television actor. He initially worked as a stand up comic in nightclubs and on television. He cocreated and starred in the hit television series Seinfeld (1990–98), which was inspired by …   Universalium

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