Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander Biography.com

Film Actor, Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Comedian(1959–)
Film, theater and television actor Jason Alexander played George Costanza opposite Jerry Seinfeld on the popular television sitcom Seinfeld.

Synopsis

Jason Alexander was born on September 23, 1959, in Newark, New Jersey. In 1989, he was awarded a Tony for Jerome Robbins' Broadway. After winning his Tony, he moved to Los Angeles, where he co-starred as George Costanza in Seinfeld. After Seinfeld signed off in 1998, Alexander tackled a variety of projects, including starring in a Los Angeles production of the musical The Producers in 2003.

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Early Life

Jason Scott Greenspan was born to Ruth and Alex Greenspan on September 23, 1959, in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Livingston, New Jersey. As a youth with an eye always toward the stage, Alexander connived his parents into giving him voice lessons so that he could "train for his bar mitzvah." His first tentative acting steps were taken in school plays, and by age 15 he had adopted his professional name: Jason Alexander.

Despite being granted a full scholarship to the School of Fine Arts at Boston University, he left after two years to act in a "B" film, The Burning (1981), and a made-for-TV movie, Senior Trip. His big break, however, came when he landed the lead role in the Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical, Merrily We Roll Along. Unfortunately for Alexander, the play closed after just two weeks, but it gave him important visibility.

Alexander's stage reputation grew as he portrayed Tevye in a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof and Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 1989, his proudest moment came when he was awarded a Tony for Best Performance as a Leading Actor in a Musical for Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

Career Breakthrough

In films, Alexander played supporting roles in Peter Weir's Mosquito Coast (1986), in Adrian Lyne's chilling Jacob's Ladder (1990)and in the Julia Roberts star vehicle, Pretty Woman (1990). On TV, he had small parts in a few ill-fated sitcoms and in an NBC mini-series,Favorite Son (1988). He also sang and danced the praises of McDLT sandwiches in a 1985 McDonald's commercial.

After winning his Tony, Alexander moved to Los Angeles, where he co-starred in a sitcom pilot, Seinfeld Chronicles, featuring a relatively unknown comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. The show, renamed Seinfeld, started slowly but soon gained a cult following. Eventually the series became a ratings powerhouse and critical success, with numerous Emmys to its credit.

Seinfeld Fame

Sometimes called "the show about nothing," Seinfeld followed the day-to-day misadventures of a stand-up comedian (Seinfeld) and his friends. Alexander played Seinfeld's longtime pal, George Costanza, who was terribly neurotic, esteem-deprived and often cheap.

“A George divided against itself cannot stand.” - George Costanza

Despite this list of unappealing attributes, his character won over audiences with his humor, humanity, rants and oddball schemes. For seven years in a row, Alexander was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Later Career

While working on Seinfeld, Alexander pursued a sideline as a voice-over actor, lending his voice to the ABC puppet show, Dinosaurs (1991); as Duckman in the animated show on the USA cable network(1994); as Abis Mal in the TV series, Aladdin (1993); and as Hugo in the animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).

After Seinfeld signed off in 1998, Alexander tackled a variety of projects. He had two sitcoms—Bob Patterson in 2001 and Listen Up from 2004 to 2005—and made guest appearances on numerous such shows as Monk and Curb Your Enthusiasm featuring Seinfeld alum Larry David, Two and a Half Men, Drunk History, and The Grinder. He's also lent his voice animated series such as The Cleveland Show, American Dad!, Fish Hooks, Dora the Explorer, Clipaholics, and Trip Tank.

On the big screen, Alexander has appeared in a number of comedies, including 2001's Shallow Hal with Jack Black. Much of his energy, however, has been devoted to theatrical projects. Alexander co-starred with Martin Short in the Los Angeles production of the hit musical The Producers in 2003. Currently, he serves as the creative director for the Reprise Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He has appeared in and directed several of the company's productions.

Personal Life

Outside of acting, Alexander is a supporter of many charities, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Autism Speaks, and Aid for AIDS. He is married to screenwriter Daena E. Title. The couple has two children: Gabriel, born in 1991, and Noah, born in 1996.

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