The reigning curmudgeon of TV comedy, Emmy-winning Larry David is a rare case of lightning striking twice on the small screen. Not only did he make television history with Seinfeld -- one of the most popular sitcoms to ever grace the airwaves -- but two years after the series ended, David made a stellar return with the hit HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. A New York City native raised in the Brooklyn, David has often claimed that his carefree childhood made for a rough transition into a miserable adulthood. He began his career as a standup comic in the early to mid-'70s, with middling results at best, a period during which he also met another, albeit more successful, comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, who would also become a lifelong friend. A few years later, success was still eluding David, though, in 1979, he got his first taste of fame as a writer and performer for the Saturday Night Live knock-off Fridays. Television definitely seemed to provide a better vehicle for David's unique brand of humor, and he later got a job as a writer for Saturday Night Live during its 1984-1985 season. The blessing became a curse, however, when David failed to gel with the SNL crew, his brief tenure on the show yielding only one on-air sketch, which was relegated to the evening's final segment.
David spent much of the rest of the '80s appearing in small roles in such films as Radio Days (1987) and New York Stories (1989). As the decade drew to a close, Seinfeld was in negotiations to develop a pilot for NBC, and he turned to his old friend David for inspiration, thus giving birth to the wildly popular "show about nothing." Starring Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jason Alexander as a quartet of self-involved New Yorkers, Seinfeld debuted in 1990 (after its 1989 pilot episode) and remained on the air for nine seasons. In addition to serving as one of the driving creative forces of the show, David was also the inspiration for the George Constanza character (Alexander) and frequently provided voice-over work. In 1996, David took a sabbatical from the series in order to try his hand at writing and directing a feature film. Though Sour Grapes didn't exactly strike gold at the box office, it did offer a healthy dose of David's trademark acerbic humor and eventually found a second life on the home video market. David returned to Seinfeld in 1998 to craft its final episode.
Although he initially opposed returning to the rigors of television, 1999 saw the airing of the HBO special Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, which, told in mockumentary style, echoed the comedian's past by weaving the tale of a failed former standup comic whose bid to return to the spotlight yielded predictably disastrous results. The show was a hit and prompted HBO to offer David his own series. Curb Your Enthusiasm would prove a massive hit, and the show -- famously featuring improvised dialogue -- would run for several seasons.