Wayne Knight was born on August 7, 1955 in Cartersville, Georgia, where he also grew up. He attended the University of Georgia where he was an honor student, but dropped out before graduation to try his hand at acting at the Barter Theatre in Virginia (where he received an internship). Soon after, he took off for New York City, ready for the city's tough acting competition. In just two years, he nabbed his first Broadway role.
Knight was successful in theater, but his television and film roles earned him national recognition. His early film work includes Dirty Dancing
, Oliver Stone’s JFK
, Basic Instinct
(that famous interrogation scene), and the role of Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park
. He also appeared in Dead Again
, Space Jam
, and To Die For
His work playing the character Newman on the TV sitcom Seinfeld
, is perhaps his best known role, though he also had a supporting role in the show, 3rd Rock from the Sun
. His unique voice has also been lent to the shows Catscratch
and Xiaolin Showdown
, and the movie, Toy Story 2
, among others.
While working on the show episode Seinfeld, Knight was having chest pains. Concerned about his obesity and high blood pressure, he went on a diet and exercise regimen and lost an enormous amount of weight to improve his health. He was married to Paula Sutor in May 1996, but they divorced in 2003.