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Michael Richards Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 July 1949Culver City, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameMichael Anthony Richards
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Immortalized as Cosmo Kramer on the classic American sitcom Seinfeld (1989), L.A. comedy star Michael Richards was born in Culver City, California, to Phyllis (Nardozzi), a records librarian, and William Richards, an electrical engineer. He is of British and Italian descent. He developed an early interest in acting in high school. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and graduated at Evergreen State College in Washington with his BFA in drama. Around this time, he founded an improv company with Ed Begley Jr. although it didn't last long. Michael interrupted his fledgling career with a two-year stint in the Army and lived a rather wanderlust lifestyle until finally grounding himself again in theater. First performing with the San Diego Repertory Company, he subsequently returned to L.A. where he developed a stand-up comedy act.

Inspired by the physical comedy of such legends as Charles Chaplin and Jacques Tati, he paid his dues on the comedy circuit until comedian Billy Crystal noticed him and gave him a break on one of his comedy specials. Michael earned a regular spot on the sketch comedy series Fridays (1980), where he created the character of Battle Boy who liked to blow up army soldiers. He also appeared in such minor slapstick films as Young Doctors in Love (1982) and Transylvania 6-5000 (1985).

Everything finally came together for the elastic-faced comedian in 1989, after being cast as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld's convulsive, frizzy-mopped neighbor and pal on Seinfeld (1989). The frenzied character earned him three Emmy awards and instant cult status. What can be a blessing, however, can also be a curse. So strongly identified with the Kramer character, Michael has major concerns once the series ended in 1998.

Despite great comedy work in the films Unstrung Heroes (1995) and Trial and Error (1997), he didn't nab a strong career in film. Meanwhile, a subsequent sitcom vehicle The Michael Richards Show (2000), in which he served as creator, co-writer, and co-executive producer, went down the tubes quickly after his character was criticized as too one-note and "Kramer-esque" in style. Like other similar actors before him, such as Carroll O'Connor, the versatile Michael is smartly riding out the Kramer storm until he finds the right time to resurface. That time to resurface was in late 2006. However, it was for all the wrong reasons. He was caught on tape at a Los Angeles comedy club, delivering a racist tirade directed at two African-American hecklers. Although he has repeatedly apologized through the media, it is unknown what damage this may do to his career.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Cathleen Lyons (1974 - 1992) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Physical comedy
Towering height
Curly bouffant hairstyle

Trivia (17)

Attended Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA.
Attended the California Institute of the Arts.
Most renowned for his role as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld (1989).
His character in Seinfeld (1989) was named Kessler in the original pilot. The original name wasn't revealed until late in the series in the episode "The Betrayal" where Jerry mistakes Kramer's name.
Cosmo Kramer, his character in Seinfeld (1989), always wore clothes one size too big to make him appear to be laid back and loose.
Is a 33-degree Scottish Rite Freemason.
Is a Vietnam-era Army Veteran. He was drafted and served for two years in West Germany.
Auditioned for the role of Al Bundy on Married with Children (1987).
His big dream when he started acting was to play a detective. This led him to later create The Michael Richards Show (2000), a sitcom about a private detective agency. The show flopped. Later, he was considered for the lead role in another comical detective show, Monk (2002), which ultimately went to Tony Shalhoub.
Was the actor Andy Kaufman threw water on during a skit on Fridays (1980). In the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon (1999), Richards' character was played by Norm MacDonald.
Is the only primary cast member on Seinfeld (1989) who has never hosted Saturday Night Live (1975).
Banned from ever performing at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles.
Has a daughter named Sophia from his marriage to Cathleen Lyons.
He once acted in a driver's education video about insurance rates, playing the role of an irate and reckless driver confused about his insurance.
Michael Richards wore the same shoes for The Seinfeld Arc of Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999) as he did on Seinfeld (1989).
His father had British Isles ancestry, and his mother was of Italian descent.
Is the oldest of the four main cast members on Seinfeld (1989).

Personal Quotes (4)

My job is to stay out of his way. - in an interview with Oprah explaining how he prepared for the character of Kramer
[on signing on to appear in 'Kirstie'] When I was doing 'Seinfeld' I was very intense. Physical comedy takes more time to set up - rehearsing how to come through the door, that slide I did. So I was always in development, and that made me feel like I wasn't able to sit back and enjoy the ride. So this time, I want to be more like a child out on the street, just playing and having fun, and not taking it all so seriously.
[on why he returned to television] Well, I'm an artist. You do it because you love to do it. It's what you are. It's the color of your fur. It's the same after all these years.
[observation, 2013, on the trouble he brought on himself seven years earlier] That'll never happen again. I know how to behave - to consciously behave. When something like that comes up,I don't let the heat of anger burn me up as I did. When you're under the helm of anger, watch out,'cause it'll take you down. It's like being possessed by a demon.

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