Mostly Credited As: Michael Richards
Birth Name: Michael Anthony Richards
Date Of Birth: July 24, 1949 (Age 66)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Culver City, Los Angeles, California
Height: 6' 3" (1.9 m)
Immortalized as Cosmo Kramer on the classic American sitcom "Seinfeld" (1990), L.A. comedy star Michael Richards, born in Culver City, California, developed an early interest in acting in high school. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and graduated at Evergreen State College in Washington with his BFA in drama. Around this time, he founded an improv company with 'Ed Begley, Jr.' but it did not survive for long. Michael interrupted his fledgling career with a two-year stint in the Army and lived a rather wanderlust life until finally grounding himself again, first performing with the San Diego Repertory Company, and then returning to L.A. where he developed a stand-up comedy act.
Inspired by the physical comedy of such legends as Charles Chaplin and Jacques Tati, he toiled for a time on the various comedy stages until comedian Billy Crystal noticed him and gave him a break on his comedy special. He 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 minor slapstick films, such 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 next-door-neighbor pal on "Seinfeld" (1990). His hilariously outrageous, completely insane character went on to win three Emmy awards and earn cult status. What can be a blessing, however, can also be a curse. He is so strongly identified with the Cosmo Kramer character that Michael has had trouble continuing solo since the series' demise in 1998.
Despite effective comedy work in the films Unstrung Heroes (1995) and Trial and Error (1997), he has yet to nab a successful film career. 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." Like others before him, such as Carroll O'Connor, Michael is smartly riding out the Kramer storm for the right time to resurface where he can be accepted outside this overwhelming and influential character.