Michael Richards life and biography

Michael Richards picture, image, poster

Michael Richards biography

Date of birth : 1949-07-24
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Culver City, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-05
Credited as : actor and comedian, Kramer, Seinfeld

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Michael Richards is an American actor, comedian, writer and television producer, best known for his portrayal of the eccentric Cosmo Kramer on the television sitcom Seinfeld.

Richards began his career as a stand up comedian, first stepping into a national spotlight when he was featured on Billy Crystal's first cable TV special. He went on to become a series regular on ABC's Fridays. Prior to Seinfeld, he made numerous guest appearances on a variety of television shows including Cheers, Night Court, Miami Vice and St. Elsewhere. His film credits include So I Married an Axe Murderer, Airheads, Young Doctors in Love, Problem Child, Coneheads and UHF. During the run of Seinfeld, he made a guest appearance in Mad About You. After Seinfeld, Richards starred in his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show, which lasted less than one season.

After his series was cancelled, Richards returned to his roots performing stand up comedy. After inciting some media furor in late 2006 over explosively addressing audience members at a comedy show with repeated racial epithets, Richards announced his retirement from stand-up in 2007. Most recently, Richards appeared as himself in the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2009, acting alongside his fellow Seinfeld cast members for the first time since Seinfeld's finale.

Richards was born in Culver City, California, the son of Phyllis (née Nardozza), a medical records librarian, and William Richards, an electrical engineer. Richards was brought up with no specific religious tradition.He was drafted during the Vietnam War, was in the U.S. Army for two years, and was stationed in Germany as one of the co-directors of the V Corps Training Road Show. "This was a successful, educational operation, boosting the morale of our men and incorporating the arts into the service."
He attended the California Institute of the Arts, and received a BA degree in drama from The Evergreen State College in 1975. He also had a short-lived improv act with Ed Begley, Jr. during this period. Enrolled at Los Angeles Valley College, he continued to appear in student productions. He later said: "I am grateful that the public schools introduced me to the performing arts."

He also spent a few years "finding himself" at a commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1979 he drove a bus and developed his own nightclub act.

Inspired by the physical comedy of such legends as Charles Chaplin and Jacques Tati, he paid his dues on the comedy circuit until comedian Billy Crystal noticed him and gave him a break on one of his comedy specials. Michael earned a regular spot on the sketch comedy series "Fridays" (1980), where he created the character of Battle Boy who liked to blow up army soldiers. He also appeared in such minor slapstick films as Young Doctors in Love (1982) and Transylvania 6-5000 (1985).

Everything finally came together for the elastic-faced comedian in 1989, after being cast as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld's convulsive, frizzy-mopped neighbor and pal on "Seinfeld" (1990). The frenzied character earned him three Emmy awards and instant cult status. What can be a blessing, however, can also be a curse. So strongly identified with the Kramer character, Michael has major concerns once the series ended in 1998.

Despite great comedy work in the films Unstrung Heroes (1995) and Trial and Error (1997), he didn't nab a strong career in film. Meanwhile, a subsequent sitcom vehicle "The Michael Richards Show" (2000), in which he served as creator, co-writer, and co-executive producer, went down the tubes quickly after his character was criticized as too one-note and "Kramer-esque" in style. Like other similar actors before him, such as Carroll O'Connor, the versatile Michael is smartly riding out the Kramer storm until he finds the right time to resurface. That time to resurface was in late 2006. However, it was for all the wrong reasons. He was caught on tape at a Los Angeles comedy club, delivering a racist tirade directed at two African-American hecklers. Although he has repeatedly apologized through the media, it is unknown what damage this may do to his career.

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