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Born in Brooklyn, New York to parents Kalman and Betty. Moved with family, including sister Carolyn, to suburban Massepequa, Long Island at young age. Dad, who had terrific sense of humor, was a commercial sign maker.
Attended Oswego College in upstate New York but transferred to Queens College back in New York City. Developed interest in stand-up comedy after brief stints in college productions. Went straight from college graduation to amateur night try-out at New York's Catch a Rising Star, 1976. Continued to perform in local clubs and Catskill Mountain resorts until his career was boosted by an appearance on a Rodney Dangerfield HBO special, 1976.
Career took off after first successful spot on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962), May 1981, at age 27. Appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" (1982) and "The Merv Griffin Show" (1962) followed. Also appeared four times as 'Frankie' on "Benson" (1979) sitcom, and after he was abruptly fired from the show, he swore never to do another sitcom unless he had greater control. This opportunity emerged when he was invited to create a sitcom for NBC in 1989 and teamed with one-time stand-up colleague Larry David.
Progression of The Seinfeld Chronicles (1989) (TV) into the long-running "Seinfeld" (1990) series phenomenon was ended by its co-creator and co-executive producer, Larry David. Still unmarried, he moved back to New York City into a new multi-million-dollar, multi-level apartment on Central Park West just down the street from his original, small bachelor studio on West 81st.