Michael Richards Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Born in Culver City, California, USA
Birth NameMichael Anthony Richards
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Immortalized as Cosmo Kramer on the classic sitcom Seinfeld (1989), West Coast comedy star Michael Richards was born on July 24, 1949, and raised in South Los Angeles, California, to Phyllis (Nardozzi), an Italian-American medical records librarian, and William Richards, an electrical engineer. Michael displayed an early talent for performance as a top Forensic League competitor during grade school. He went on to star in multiple high school and college productions while working as an ambulance attendant and hospital orderly. Michael trained as a medic in the US Army during the Vietnam War, was appointed writer and director of plays on drug abuse and race relations for the Army's V-Corp Training Roadshow. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and was mentored by famed performance art guru Allan Kaprow. He graduated from Evergreen State College in Washington with his BFA in drama.

After first performing with the San Diego Repertory Company, he subsequently returned to L.A. where he was discovered by Budd Friedman, founder of the Improv comedy club and talent manager Charles Joffe. Also a trained theater actor under the tutelage of Stella Adler, Michael starred in regional productions, Off-Broadway, and in London's West End. In addition to his comedic roles, Michael performed regularly in comedy clubs during the late 1970s and 1980s while driving a school bus by day.

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 such as Young Doctors in Love (1982) and Transylvania 6-5000 (1985).

Michael worked regularly as a dramatic "heavy" in television throughout the 1980s in shows such as "Miami Vice," "St. Elsewhere," and "Hill Street Blues." Following a recurring role on the offbeat comedy series Marblehead Manor (1987), everything finally came together for the elastic-faced comedian in 1989, after being cast as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld's wired, convulsive, frizzy-mopped neighbor and pal on Seinfeld (1989). The frenzied character earned him three Emmy awards, SAG awards, and instant cult status. He followed this success with his own short-lived series, the comedy mystery as a private investigator in The Michael Richards Show (2000) and the role of Micawber in a TV version of David Copperfield (2000).

Subsequent film credits include the cult classic UHF (1989), Problem Child (1990), Airheads (1994), Unstrung Heroes (1995) and Trial and Error (1997), a top-billed comedy role. TV work into the millennium has been very sporadic; however, he appeared as himself in several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), and played a regular role in Kirstie Alley's brief comedy series Kirstie (2013) with fellow TV comedy veteran and Rhea Perlman. He also made an isolated film appearance in the romantic comedy Faith, Hope & Love (2019).

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

Family (2)

Spouse Beth Skipp (2013 - present)  (1 child)
Cathleen Lyons (1974 - 1992)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Sophia

Trade Mark (3)

Physical comedy
Towering height
Curly bouffant hairstyle

Trivia (22)

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.
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 (2000) as he did on Seinfeld (1989).
His father had U.K. ancestry and his mother was of Italian descent.
Is the oldest of the four main cast members on Seinfeld (1989).
Has a daughter, Sophie, from his first marriage. Has a son, Antonio, from his second marriage.
He admitted he had a hard time enjoying himself working on Seinfeld (1989). This he said was because he was so focused on his lines.
Had been cast as Dizzy Dean in Durant's Never Closes (2016), but for unknown reasons was replaced with Jon Gries.
Was part of a comedy duo with Ed Begley Jr..
Michael was two when his father William Richards, an electrical engineer, was killed in a car crash. Michael's mother never remarried.
Attended Thousand Oaks High School in Thousand Oaks, California (class of 1969) with Kurt Russell who he voted "best looking".

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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