Jason Alexander

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Jason Alexander

Alexander in 2008
BornJay Scott Greenspan[1]
(1959-09-23) September 23, 1959 (age 53)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, comedian
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Daena E. Title (1982–present)
ChildrenGabriel Alexander
Noah Alexander
 
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Jason Alexander

Alexander in 2008
BornJay Scott Greenspan[1]
(1959-09-23) September 23, 1959 (age 53)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, comedian
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Daena E. Title (1982–present)
ChildrenGabriel Alexander
Noah Alexander

Jay Scott Greenspan (born September 23, 1959),[2][3] better known by his professional name of Jason Alexander, is an American actor, director, producer, writer, singer, and comedian. He is best known for his role as George Costanza on Seinfeld, appearing from 1989 to 1998. He also has had an active career on the stage, appearing in several Broadway musicals including Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989, for which he won the Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He appeared in the Los Angeles production of The Producers with Martin Short. He is the Artistic Director of "Reprise! Broadway's Best in Los Angeles," where he has directed several musicals. Alexander is also an avid poker player.

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Early life

Alexander was born Jay Scott Greenspan[2][3] in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Jewish parents Ruth Minnie (née Simon), a nurse and health care administrator, and Alexander B. Greenspan, an accounting manager. He has a half-sister, Karen Van Horne, and a half-brother, Michael Greenspan.[4] Alexander grew up in Livingston, New Jersey and is a 1977 graduate of Livingston High School.[5] Alexander had a very wheezy voice growing up, primarily because of his asthma.[citation needed] He attended Boston University but left the summer before his senior year, after getting work in New York City. He was later given an honorary degree in 1995. He is a practiced magician, and only switched to acting as a career when he realized that he was unlikely to succeed as a magician.[6]

Acting career

Stage career

Alexander began his acting career on the New York stage and is an accomplished singer and dancer. On Broadway, he appeared in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, Kander & Ebb's The Rink, Neil Simon's Broadway Bound, Accomplice, and Jerome Robbins' Broadway, for which he garnered the 1989 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Returning to the stage in 2003, Alexander was cast in a successful run, opposite Martin Short, in the Los Angeles production of Mel Brooks' The Producers.[7] Alexander also appeared with Kelsey Grammer in the 2004 musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. He played Jacob Marley to Grammer's Ebenezer Scrooge. He continues to appear in live stage shows, including Barbra Streisand's memorable birthday party for Stephen Sondheim at the Hollywood Bowl, in which he appeared with Angela Lansbury, performing selections from Sweeney Todd. Alexander was recently named the Artistic Director of Reprise Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where he previously directed Sunday in the Park with George. He is scheduled to direct the upcoming revival of Damn Yankees at Reprise!

Television

Alexander is best known as one of the key cast members of the award-winning television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), in which he played George Costanza (Jerry Seinfeld's character's best friend since childhood).

Before Seinfeld, he starred in a short-lived CBS sitcom called Everything's Relative in 1987 which lasted six episodes. Concurrently with his Seinfeld role, Alexander provided the voice of the lead character in the cult animated series Duckman (1994–1997). Alexander also voiced Catbert, the evil director of human resources, in the short-lived Dilbert animated series based on the popular comic strip.

He made cameo appearances in the second season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing himself. Alexander also appeared in the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, along with the other three principal Seinfeld cast members.[8] He also had a part in the ABC sitcom Dinosaurs, as Al "Sexual" Harris (who frequently engaged in sexual harassment) as well as other voices. Despite a relatively successful career in film and stage, Alexander never managed to repeat his Seinfeld-level of success in television. 2001 marked his first post-Seinfeld return to prime-time television: the heavily promoted but short-lived ABC sitcom Bob Patterson (which was canceled after just 5 episodes). Alexander partially blames the lack of success on the mood of the country after 9/11.[9]

His second chance as a TV series lead, the CBS sitcom Listen Up! (September 20, 2004 to April 25, 2005), also fell short of a second season. Alexander was also the principal executive producer of the series based very loosely on the life of the popular sports-media personality Tony Kornheiser. Alexander appeared on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD singing a verse in the song "All Cartoons are Fuckin' Dicks". He was featured in the Friends episode "The One Where Rosita Dies" as a suicidal supply manager named Earl. Phoebe calls him trying to sell him toner and she learns about his problem and tries to persuade him not to commit suicide. This is referred to in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle where Alexander appears as a neurotic and critical loner called Leonard. He describes himself as free and mentions that he makes money with a job "selling toner over the phone". Also in the episode, he is repeatedly harassed by a man named George – his character's name on Seinfeld. Alexander appeared in the 1995 TV version of the Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie, as Conrad Birdie's agent, Albert Peterson. He guest-starred in episode 8 of the 1996 variety show Muppets Tonight.

Alexander appeared on Star Trek: Voyager on the episode "Think Tank" playing a genius alien named Kurros who was trying to get Seven of Nine to serve on his ship. He appeared in the first episode of the short-lived 2002 revival of The Twilight Zone, playing Death. He featured in the 2005 Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Other Detective" as Monk's rival, Marty Eels. On the June 26, 2006 episode of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! talk show, Alexander demonstrated several self-defense techniques. He was also the Host of the 230th July 4, 2006 of the PBS July 4 "A Capitol Fourth" Celebrations in Washington, D.C. in which he sang, danced, and played tuned drums. In 2006, Alexander signed on to feature as a regular cast member in the second season of Everybody Hates Chris. Alexander was the host of the Comedy Central Roast of actor William Shatner on August 13, 2006 (first airdate: August 20, 2006). In 2007, Alexander was a guest star in the third episode of the improv comedy series Thank God You're Here. He is also a frequent guest and panelist on: Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect and Real Time shows; Hollywood Squares; the Late Late Show, with both Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson; and the Late Show with David Letterman.

In 2008, Alexander guest-starred on the CBS show Criminal Minds in the season four episode "Masterpiece" as Prof. Rothschild,[10][11] a well-educated serial killer obsessed with the Fibonacci sequence who sends the team into a race against time to save his last victims. He returned in the same season to direct the episode "Conflicted", featuring the actor Jackson Rathbone. In 2011, Alexander was the guest star in an episode of Harry's Law, playing a high school teacher bringing a wrongful dismissal suit.[12]

Movies

In addition to his roles as an insensitive lawyer in Pretty Woman, co-starring with Richard Gere, and as an inept womanizer Mauricio in Shallow Hal, with Jack Black, Alexander has appeared in Love! Valour! Compassion!, Dunston Checks In, Love and Action in Chicago, The Last Supper and psychological horror film Jacob's Ladder. He voiced the gargoyle Hugo in Disney's 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, its direct-to-video sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, and the video game Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.[13] He has also dabbled in the art of directing, starting with 1996's For Better or Worse and 1999's Just Looking. He also played the phenomenally successful US toymaker A.C. Gilbert in the 2002 movie: The Man Who Saved Christmas. In 2009, Alexander had a small role in the movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale as a train station manager, again working next to Richard Gere. Alexander starred in A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! as Cosmo.

Other work

Alexander performing at an Independence Day celebration at the U.S. Capitol in 2006

Alexander is also featured in country music star Brad Paisley's music videos "Celebrity" and "Online", the latter of which he directed and won the 2007 Country Music Association's Video of the Year Award. In January 1995, Alexander did a commercial for Rold Gold pretzels to be broadcast during the Super Bowl. The commercial depicts him with Frasier dog "Eddie" jumping out of an airplane with a parachute over the stadium. After the commercial, the audience is brought back to a supposedly "live feed" of the playing field hearing startled sports commentators as Alexander and the dog land in the field to wild applause. In the summer of 2005, he appeared with Lee Iacocca in ads for DaimlerChrysler. Lee Iacocca did the ads as part of a way to raise money for Dr. Denise Faustman's research to cure autoimmunity.[14] Both Lee Iacocca and Jason Alexander have had loved ones whose lives have been adversely affected by autoimmunity. Alexander has also done a McDonald's commercial advertising the McDLT, in which he sings. He has also appeared in Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) commercials, including one with baseball superstar Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and another one opposite Trista Rehn of The Bachelorette. It was rumored that he no longer appears in these commercials due to the alleged cruelty to animals by KFC suppliers and slaughterhouses, but he refuted that in the August 2, 2006 issue of Adweek. Alexander said, "That's PETA bullcrap. I loved working for KFC. I was targeted by PETA to broker something between them. I think KFC really stepped up to the plate; unfortunately PETA did not."

He performed a mentalism and magic act at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California on April 24–30, 2006. He has been awarded the Parlor Magician of the year award at the Castle. Alexander was the national spokesman for the Scleroderma Foundation, a leading organization dedicated to raising awareness of the disease and assisting those who are afflicted. He also voiced the character Abis Mal in The Return of Jafar and the television series based on Disney's 1992 animated film, Aladdin. He did the voice for Joseph in the Old Testament for The Word of Promise audio Bible. Jason Alexander guest starred in Malcolm in the Middle as an intelligent but unpleasant individual (Lenard) who Malcolm meets in the park. He makes money as a telephone salesman and spends his time playing chess in the park. Malcolm, afraid of ending up like Lenard, tries to get him to change his ways and get a full-time job. In 2007, Alexander appeared in a commercial for the ASPCA, which has aired on cable TV stations.[15] In 1987, Alexander appeared in a commercial for Miller Lite, with Yogi Berra as the celebrity, speaking about Miller Lite using his unique malapropism eloquence, sitting at a bar with many others including a young Jason Alexander standing behind Berra's left shoulder.

Playing poker

Alexander playing at Annie Duke's charity event in the 2009 World Series of Poker

In recent years, Alexander has also competed on televised poker shows and in various tournaments. He has appeared twice on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, winning the final table of the 8th season. Alexander won the $500,000 prize for his charity, The United Way of America to help benefit the New Orleans Area. An avid poker player, Jason was also one of the "famous faces"[16] due to being a regular player on the online poker website Hollywood Poker which is run in conjunction with Ongame Network. Alexander also played in the 2007 World Series of Poker main event, but was eliminated on the second day. He returned to play in 2009. He made it to Day 3 of the event, finishing in the top 30% of the field. Alexander has also appeared on NBC's Poker After Dark in the "Celebrities and Mentors" episode, finishing in 6th place after being eliminated by professional poker player Gavin Smith. He also signed with PokerStars where he plays under the screen name "J. Alexander".

Recent appearances

Alexander with Alan F. Horn in May 2010

Alexander was host of the LOL Sudbury opening night Gala in Sudbury, Ontario on May 29, 2008, which was simulcast throughout Canada at 60 Cineplex theaters, a first for any comedy festival. He has loaned his voice to several episodes of the Twilight Zone Radio Dramas. Jason Alexander explained on Real Time with Bill Maher (July 17, 2009) that he has visited Israel many times. On his appearance, he spoke about progress towards peace that he has recently observed. In 2008 and again in 2009, Alexander fronted "Jason Alexander's Comedy Spectacular", a routine exclusive to Australia. The show consists of stand-up and improvisation and incorporates Alexander's Broadway musical talent. He is backed up by a number of well-known Australian comedians. His first time performing a similar show of this nature was in 2006 for "Jason Alexander's Comedy Christmas." In February/March 2010, Alexander starred in his own show, "The Donny Clay Experience", at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Donny Clay character, which he has performed in a tour of the United States, is a self-help guru in a similar mold to Bob Patterson. It was announced in July 2010 that Alexander would be joining the cast of the Nickelodeon film based on their series The Fairly Oddparents, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!. He played a live-action version of Cosmo, one of Timmy Turner's fairies.[17] Alexander had also starred in a music video for Nickelback's "Trying Not To Love You" as a coffee foam artist.[18]

Personal life

He has been married to Daena E. Title since May 31, 1982.[citation needed] They have two sons, Gabriel[19] (b. May 1992) and Noah (b. February 1996).[citation needed] On January 6, 2010, it was announced that Jason would be the new face of the weight loss company Jenny Craig.[20] Jason has been a prominent public supporter of the OneVoice initiative, which seeks out opinions from moderate Israelis and Palestinians who want to achieve a mutual peace agreement between their societies.

Filmography

Film

YearFilmRoleNotes
1981The BurningDave
1981Senior TripPeteTV Movie
1986The Mosquito CoastClerk
1986Brighton Beach MemoirsPool Player
1986RockabyeLt. Ernest FoyTV Movie
1990Pretty WomanPhilip Stuckey
1990White PalaceNeil
1990Jacob's LadderGeary
1992I Don't Buy Kisses AnymoreBernie Fishbine
1993Sexual HealingFrank
1993ConeheadsNeighbor Larry Farber
1993For Goodness SakeVCR CustomerShort
1994The PaperMarion Sandusky
1994NorthNorth's Dad
1994The Return of JafarAbis MalVoice
direct-to-video
1994BlankmanMr. Stone
1995Bye Bye BirdieAlbertTV Movie
1995The Last SupperThe Anti-Environmentalist
1995For Better or WorseMichael Makeshift
1996The Hunchback of Notre DameHugoVoice
1996Dunston Checks InRobert Grant
1997Love! Valour! Compassion!Buzz Hauser
1997CinderellaLionelTV Movie
1998DenialArt Witz
1999Love and Action in ChicagoFrank Bonner
1999Madeline: Lost in ParisMadeline's Uncle Henri HorstVoice
direct-to-video
1999Jingle BellsElfVoice
TV Movie
2000The Adventures of Rocky and BullwinkleBoris BadenovNominated-Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001The Trumpet of the SwanFatherVoice
2001Shallow HalMauricio Wilson
2002The Hunchback of Notre Dame IIHugoVoice
direct-to-video
2002The Man Who Saved ChristmasA.C. GilbertTV Movie
2003101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London AdventureLil' LightningVoice
direct-to-video
2004A Christmas CarolJacob MarleyTV Movie
2006Farce of the PenguinsPenguin on BellyVoice
direct-to-video
2006Ira and AbbyDr. Morris Saperstein
2006Hood of HorrorBritish Record Mogul
2006How to Go Out on a Date in QueensJohnny
2007The GrandDr. Yakov Achmed
2009Rock SlydeMailman Stan
2009Hachi: A Dog's TaleCarl
2010Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space OdysseyMoronicVoice
2011The Voyages of Young Doctor DolittleEugeneVoice
direct-to-video
2012Stars in ShortsSid Rosenthal

Television

YearShowRoleNotes
1984-1985E/RHarold StickleyAppeared in 22 episodes
1987Everything's RelativeJulian BeebyAppeared in 10 episodes
1988NewhartRammingEpisode: "Courtin' Disaster"
1989-1998SeinfeldGeorge CostanzaAppeared in 179 episodes
Directed 3 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995, 1997, 1998)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1995)
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series (1992, 1993)
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1993, 1994, 1995, 1998)
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1992-1998)
Nominated-Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1996-1999)
Nominated-American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series (1996, 1999)
1992-1993DinosaursAdditional VoicesVoice
Appeared in 7 episodes
1993Dream OnRandall TownsendEpisode: "Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape"
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
1994-1997DuckmanEric DuckmanVoice
Appeared in 70 episodes
1994-1998The Larry Sanders ShowHimselfAppeared in 2 episodes
1994AladdinAbis MalVoice
Appeared in 14 episodes
1996Muppets TonightHimselfAppeared in 1 episode
1996The NannyJackEpisode: "The Tart with Heart"
1997Remember WENNAlan BallingerEpisode: "Nothing Up My Sleeve"
1998HerculesPoseidonVoice
Appeared in 3 episodes
1999-2000DilbertCatbertVoice
Appeared in 9 episodes
1999Star Trek VoyagerKurrosEpisode: "Think Tank"
2001-2009Curb Your EnthusiasmHimselfAppeared in 5 episodes
2001FriendsEarlEpisode: "The One Where Rosita Dies"
2001Bob PattersonBob PattersonAppeared in 10 episodes
2001The Legend of TarzanZuthoVoice
Episode: "Tarzan and the Face from the Past"
2002Son of the BeachTex FinklesteinEpisode: "Penetration Island"
2002House of MouseHugoVoice
Episode: "Donald Wants to Fly"
2002The Twilight ZoneDeathEpisode: "One Night at Mercy"
2003Malcolm in the MiddleLeonardEpisode: "Future Malcolm"
2004-2005Listen Up!Tony KleinmanAppeared in 22 episodes
2005MonkMarty EelsEpisode: "Mr. Monk and the Other Detective"
2006Odd Job JackDonVoice
Episode: "Twenty-One You're Dead"
2006-2008Everybody Hates ChrisPrincipal EdwardsAppeared in 2 episodes
Directed 2 episodes
2006Campus LadiesProfessorEpisode:A Very Special Episode
2008The New Adventures of Old ChristineDr. PalmerEpisode: "One and a Half Men"
2008-2009Criminal MindsProf. RothchildEpisode: "Masterpiece"
Also directed: "Confliced"
2009MeteorDr. ChetwynTV Miniseries
2009'Til DeathDirector
Episode: "Snore Loser"
2010-2011Fish HooksMr. NibblesVoice
Appeared in 2 episodes
2010The Cleveland ShowSaul FriedmanVoice
Episode: "Brotherly Love"
2010American Dad!SalVoice
Episode: "White Rice"
2011Glenn Martin DDSBrandonVoice
Episode: "GlenHog Day"
2011Franklin & BashCarter LangEpisode: "Big Fish"
Also Directed: "Last Dance"
2011Harry's LawRichard CrossEpisode: "Bad to Worse"
2011China, ILHaroldEpisode: "Coming Out of the Casket"
2012Two and a Half MenAlan's cardiologistEpisode: "The Straw in My Donut Hole"
2012Mike and MollyDirector
Episode: "Vince Takes a Bath"

Video games

YearGameRoleNotes
2012Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceHugo

References

  1. ^ "Jason Alexander Biography". Yahoo! Movies. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800021433/bio. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  2. ^ a b "Jason Alexander: Biography from". Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/jason-alexander. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  3. ^ a b "Jason Alexander Biography". Biography.com. 1959-09-23. http://www.biography.com/articles/Jason-Alexander-9542168. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  4. ^ "Jason Alexander Biography". filmreference. 2008. http://www.filmreference.com/film/39/Jason-Alexander.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  5. ^ Weinraub, Bernard. "At the Movies", The New York Times, October 22, 1999. Accessed February 24, 2011. "I was born in 1959 and grew up in Livingston, N.J., but I felt I knew these people very well, said Mr. Alexander (above)."
  6. ^ John Lovic interviewing Jason Alexander (2007-10). Reel Magic Quarterly #2 (DVD). USA.
  7. ^ Kenneth Jones (July 17, 2002). "Mel Brooks Gets Jason Alexander and Martin Short for L.A. Producers, Starting May 2, 2003". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/70909.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  8. ^ Rice, Lynette (2009-03-05). "Exclusive: 'Seinfeld' cast to appear on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'". EW.com. http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2009/03/seinfeld-cast-t.html. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  9. ^ "In Step With: Jason Alexander". Parade Magazine. April 3, 2005. http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2005/edition_04-03-2005/in_step_with_0.
  10. ^ "Criminal Minds" Masterpiece (2008)
  11. ^ "Criminal Minds Episode Guide 2008 Season 4 – Masterpiece, Episode 8". Tvguide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/criminal-minds-2008/episode-8-season-4/masterpiece/192244. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  12. ^ IMDB.com
  13. ^ Jason Alexander to debut in Kingdom Hearts
  14. ^ faustmanlab.org
  15. ^ "Logan, a victim of animal cruelty.". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDCP75iz22M. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  16. ^ "Jason Alexander Biography". The Green Room (Hollywood Poker). 2008. http://www.hollywoodpoker.com/green-room/celebrity-poker/biographies/jason-alexander.html. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  17. ^ Oddparents-Movie-1020888.aspx "Exclusive: Nickelodeon Orders Live-Action Movie Adaptation of The Fairly Oddparents". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Fairly Oddparents-Movie-1020888.aspx.
  18. ^ Moaba, Alex. "Jason Alexander Stars in Nickelback Video For 'Trying Not To Love You'". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/18/jason-alexander-nickelback-video_n_1800909.html. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  19. ^ "Alexander's Son Unimpressed With Seinfeld". Contactmusic.com. 26 November 2004. http://www.contactmusic.com/news-article/alexander.s-son-unimpressed-with-seinfeld. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  20. ^ Gina DiNunno. "Jason Alexander Becomes Jenny Craig Spokesperson". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Jason-Alexander-Jenny-1013433.aspx.

External links