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Jerry Seinfeld (born Jerome Seinfeld on April 29, 1954 in New York City, 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, Jerry Seinfeld 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.
Seinfeld was born in New York City. His father, K?lm?n, was of Hungarian Jewish background and his mother, Betty, Syrian Jewish. He grew up in Massapequa, New York. He went to State University of New York at Oswego but transferred and graduated from Queens College, City University of New York. During his time in college, he was an amateur wrestler who called himself The Jewish Terror. He developed an interest in stand-up comedy after brief stints in college productions. When he first started doing stand-up comedy, his mother and sister said he would never be as funny as his father.
Seinfeld created The Seinfeld Chronicles with Larry David in 1989 for NBC. The show was later renamed Seinfeld and, by its fourth season, became the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. The show left the air in 1998. As of 2007, the show is still receiving heavy airplay in syndication. 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.
After his sitcom ended, Seinfeld returned to stand-up comedy instead of pursuing a film career like 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 And Superman, in which he appeared together with an animated rendering of Superman, who was referenced in numerous episodes of Seinfeld as Seinfeld's hero, 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 and ended up paying tribute to Jerry Seinfeld. This commercial aired only once, during the series finale of Seinfeld.
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.
In 2007, Seinfeld co-produced, co-wrote and starred as Barry B. Benson in the animated film Bee Movie, which was released November 2, 2007.
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 2002, 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.