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Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander's nine seasons as hapless schlep George Costanza on Seinfeld have been the crowning glory to a 25-year career on stage, screen and television. But with looks that can be pitiful, sympathetic, charming, devious, and even unscrupulous - combined with an equally malleable talent - this multi award- winning actor is in little danger of being stereotyped. For his portrayal of George, Alexander has earned six Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations, an American Television Award and two American Comedy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series. The Screen Actors Guild went one better and chose him as Best Actor in a Comedy Series despite his role as a supporting actor.

This fall, Alexander returns to primetime as motivational speaker Bob Patterson in the new ABC-TV series Bob Patterson, a sophisticated comedy that cracks the facade of a man who inspires millions, but has a long way to go himself.

In film, Alexander most recently appeared in Rocky and Bullwinkle as 'Boris Badenov,' opposite Rene Russo and Robert De Niro. Alexander also directed the independent film Just Looking, which starred Patti Lupone, Gretchen Mol and Ryan Merriman.

His other film credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mosquito Coast, Jacob's Ladder, White Palace, Coneheads, Blankman, The Last Supper and the Academy Award-nominated live-action short film Down on the Waterfront. Alexander's most memorable roles include those in Rob Reiner's North, Ron Howard's The Paper, and as Richard Gere's villainous lawyer in Pretty Woman. As a leading man he has brought his comedic flair to starring roles in I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore and Dunston Checks In. In 1997 Alexander garnered exceptional reviews for his performance in the film version of Terence McNally's Tony Award-winning play Love! Valour! Compassion!

Alexander continues to defy an easy pigeonhole and during Seinfeld he completed filming two diverse projects. In film, he starred in the 1998 independent dark comedy Denial that answers the question Does monogamy really exist? Alexander portrays a cynical, semi-successful novelist who plants the seed of doubt into three seemingly happy couples. On television, he starred as Lionel (the prince's valet) in ABC's version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, opposite Whitney Houston, Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg.

Among his previous work on television, Alexander starred in the CBS comedy series Everything's Relative, E.R., the mini-series Favorite Son and ABC's version of Bye Bye Birdie" opposite Vanessa Williams. Alexander earned an Emmy nomination for a supporting guest role on HBO's Dream On. He has also hosted Saturday Night Live, and performed song-and-dance numbers for The Comedy Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center Honors and the 1994 Emmy Awards (for which he was nominated for an American Comedy Award) and as co-host of The 1995 Emmy Awards with Cybill Sheperd. Most recently, he performed with the Boston Pops on PBS and with the orchestra again at Carnegie Hall.

On stage, Alexander made his Broadway debut in the Hal Prince/Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along. He later starred on Broadway in Rupert Holmes' Accomplice, Neil Simon's Broadway Bound and The Rink, with Liza Minelli and Chita Rivera. In 1989 his theatrical capstone came in the award-winning Jerome Robbins' Broadway, for which he won a Tony as well as Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Alexander also was the author of the show's narration. As a tribute to Gilda Radner, Alexander and Julia Louise Dreyfus performed benefit readings in 1994 of Alan Zweibel's Bunny Bunny. In Los Angeles, Alexander received critical acclaim and a Dramalogue Award for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the one-man play Give 'Em Hell Harry.

Alexander's voice has also become famous for his work both in animated features and television series. For four seasons, he starred in the USA Network's critically acclaimed adult animation series Duckman. In film, his voice has been used in Aladdin, The Return of Jafar, Hercules and as 'Hugo the Gargoyle' in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

In addition to acting, Alexander also has been receiving attention as a director. His first effort behind the camera, for an episode of Seinfeld, was nominated for a DGA Award in 1993. Alexander's feature film directing debut was the romantic comedy For Better or Worse, in which he also starred opposite Lolita Davidovich and James Woods. Some of his more recent directing efforts were a 1997 episode of AMC's Remember Wenn and Just Looking.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Alexander first found an audience among his classmates, entertaining them in an effort to distract from his chubbiness. At 16, he earned his first professional job when he was spotted in a children's theater group and was asked to perform on a local New York children's program. Two years later he landed his first film, The Burning, while studying acting at Boston University. In 1995, Alexander returned to Boston University to receive an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Jason Alexander Facts

Birth NameJay Greenspan
BirthdaySeptember 23, 1959 (64)
BirthplaceNewark, New Jersey, USA
Height5' 5" (1m65)  How tall is Jason Alexander compared to you?
Awards1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series (for Seinfeld)

Selected Filmography

Wild Card
Pete's Dragon
The Watcher
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Double Jeopardy
Seinfeld: The Complete Series
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