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After Dinner Speaker | Celebrity | Entertainment | Humor
For Jason Alexander, nine seasons as hapless schlep George Costanza on NBC's Seinfeld have been the crowning glory to a 20 year career on stage, screen, and television. With looks that can be pitiful, sympathetic, charming, devious, and even unscrupulous-combined with an equally malleable talent-this multi-award winning actor is in little danger of being stereotyped. For his portrayal of George, Mr. Alexander has earned six Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations, an American Television Award, and two American Comedy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series. The Screen Actors Guild went one step higher and knighted him Best Actor in a Comedy Series despite his role as a supporting actor.
Now with Seinfeld behind him, Jason Alexander can concentrate on his production company, Angel Ark Productions, which recently signed a multi-year development deal with Studios USA Television, under which it will produce comedy and drama series while also developing feature films, cable movies, and movies of the week.
Mr. Alexander continues to defy an easy pigeonhole and during his last hiatus on Seinfeld completed filming two diverse projects. In the realm of film, he starred in the 1998 independent dark comedy Denial that answers the question, "Does monogamy really exist?" He portrays a cynical, semi-successful novelist who plants the seed of doubt into three seemingly happy couples. He also starred as Lionel, (the Prince's valet) in ABC's version of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella along with Whitney Houston, Brandy, and Whoopi Goldberg. Universal's Rocky & Bullwinkle also starred Jason Alexander as Boris Badenov the live action, computer-generated imagery (CGI) special effects combo also starring Renee Russo and Robert DeNiro.
One of the most versatile actors around, Jason Alexander is also making waves as a director. His first effort behind the camera, for an episode of Seinfeld, was nominated for a DGA Award in 1993. Mr. Alexander's film debut was Castle Rock's romantic comedy For Better or Worse, in which he also starred opposite Lolita Davidovich and James Woods. One of his latest directing efforts was a 1997 episode of AMC's Remember When. He recently directed an independent film, Just Looking, set in the 50s about young boys coming of age. Just Looking stars Patti LuPone, Gretchen Mol, and Ryan Merriman with Jean Doumanian as the producer.
Mr. Alexander has appeared on the big screen in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mosquito Coast, Jacob's Ladder, White Palace, Coneheads, Blankman, The Last Supper, and the Academy Award nominated live action short film, Down on the Waterfront. His most memorable roles include those in Rob Reiner's North, Ron Howard's The Paper, and as Richard Gere's villainous lawyer in Pretty Woman. In 1997, he garnered exceptional reviews for his wonderful portrayal of Buzz in the film version of Terrance McNally's Tony Award winning play “Love! Valour! Compassion!”
A lover of theater, Jason Alexander made his Broadway debut in the Hal Prince/Stephen Sondheim show Merrily We Roll Along. He later starred on Broadway in Rupert Holmes' Accomplice, Neil Simon's Broadway Bound, and The Rink with Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera. In 1989, his theatrical capstone came in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, for which he won a Tony, an Outer Critics, and Drama Desk Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. As a loving tribute to Gilda Radner, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis Dreyfus performed benefit readings in 1994 of Alan Zweibel's Bunny Bunny. In Los Angeles, he received unanimous kudos and a Dramalogue Award for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the one man play “Give 'Em Hell Harry” and most recently starred in “Promises, Promises” for Reprise!” Broadway's Best in Concert.
Among his television work, Mr. Alexander starred in the CBS series Everything's Relative, the Elliot Gould comedy series, E.R., the mini-series, Favorite Son, ABC's version of “Bye Bye Birdie” opposite Vanessa Williams, hosted Saturday Night Live, and earned an Emmy nomination for a supporting guest spot on HBO's Dream On. He never ceases to surprise us, revealing an even broader range with song and dance numbers for The Comedy Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center Honors, and The 1994 Emmy Awards, (for which he was nominated for an American Comedy Award), and as a co-host of The 1995 Emmy Awards with Cybill Sheperd.
Mr. Alexander's voice has become equally as famous in animated features and television series. For four seasons, he starred in USA Network's critically acclaimed voice work in The Return of Jafar and Hercules as well as Hugo the gargoyle in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the commercial realm, he has lent his image to numerous campaigns, most notably as The Amazing Pretzel Boy for Frito Lay's award winning Rold Gold pretzels.
Jason Alexander now calls Los Angeles his home, where this multi-talented actor, director, producer, writer, singer, dancer lives with his wife, and their two sons.