Jason Alexander

Active - 1981 - 2020  |   Born - Sep 23, 1959 in Newark, New Jersey, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Most everyone who went to high school in Livingston, NJ, with Newark-born Jason Alexander knew that the lad was destined to become a major actor. Though inclined to stoutness -- and baldness -- from age 16 onward, Alexander had such a commanding stage presence that he was invariably cast as the star in school plays, in roles ranging from romantic leads to elderly character parts. While attending Boston University, the 20-year-old Alexander was cast in the lead of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along, which might have made him an overnight star had it not closed almost as soon as it opened. Alexander's first film role was in 1981's The Burning; that same year he made his TV-movie bow in Senior Trip. By 1989, Alexander had two major industry awards to his credit: the Tony and Grammy, both for his participation in Jerome Robbins' Broadway. In 1990, he was cast as clueless loser George Costanza in the popular sitcom Seinfeld (the character was allegedly based on series co-creator Larry David). And in 1994, his voice could be heard each week on the USA cable network as the web-footed, sex-obsessed private eye hero of the animated cartoon series Duckman. Though still best-known for his portrayal of George Costanza, Alexander's feature film career picked up speed during the '90s as both a character actor in major comedies such as Dunston Checks In and a voice-over artist on such animated Disney features as Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 1997, he played a more dramatic role as an AIDS-afflicted drag queen who finds romance in Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997). After a disappointing blink-and-you-miss-it comeback to the small screen as a self-help guru in Bob Patterson, Alexander leapt back to the big screen opposite Jack Black in the Farrelly brothers' Shallow Hal. He directed the sex comedy Just Looking in 1999.

He had another small-screen misfire with Listen Up. But he continued to appear regularly in movies including the documentary The Aristocrats, the improvised poker movie The Grand, and Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror. He has lent his voice to a handful of animated projects over the years, and in 2012 he appeared in the family film A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up Timmy Turner.

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  • Took the stage name Jason Alexander when he was 15. Jason came from his mother's saying "Jay my son," and Alexander is his father's first name.
  • Left Boston University after his junior year to pursue acting roles, but later received an honorary degree in 1995.
  • Roomed with Holly Hunter in New York City early in his career. The two both made their feature-film debuts in the horror flick The Burning (1981).
  • Told USA Today in 1992, "I became an actor because of William Shatner. I was a major Star Trek fan." In 1999, he played a comical Captain Kirk in the TV special Ultimate Trek: Star Trek's Greatest Moments, which he also executive produced.
  • Fitted in clothing a size too small while on Seinfeld in order to make George Costanza look like, well, George Costanza.
  • Became a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig weight-loss program in 2010.
  • Is an accomplished magician.