Larry David

Larry David

David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Birth name Lawrence Gene David
Born (1947-07-02) July 2, 1947
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Medium Stand-up, television, film, theatre
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
Years active 1980–present
Genres Observational comedy, satire, improvisational comedy, black comedy
Influences Phil Silvers, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, John Cleese
Influenced Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Jack Dee, Sean Lock, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Garlin, Casper Christensen, Graham Linehan, Armando Iannucci
Spouse Laurie Lennard (m. 1993; div. 2007)
Children 2

Lawrence Gene "Larry" David[1] (born July 2, 1947) is an American comedian, writer, actor, playwright and television producer.[2] He and Jerry Seinfeld created the television series Seinfeld, and he served as its head writer and executive producer from 1989 to 1996. David has subsequently gained further recognition for the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, which he also created, in which he stars as a semi-fictionalized version of himself.[3]

David's work won him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993. Formerly a stand-up comedian, David went into television comedy, writing and starring in ABC's Fridays, as well as writing briefly for Saturday Night Live. He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards as well as being voted by fellow comedians and comedy insiders as number 23 of the greatest comedy stars ever in a 2004 British poll to select "The Comedian's Comedian".[4]

Early life

David was born in the neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Rose (née Ratner) and Morty David, who was a men's clothing manufacturer.[5] His family is Jewish. He graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School, and then from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's degree in History.[6][7] After college, he enlisted in the United States Army Reserve.[8]


While a stand-up comedian, David also worked as a store clerk, limousine driver, and historian. He lived in Manhattan Plaza, a federally subsidized housing complex in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, across the hall from Kenny Kramer, the inspiration for the Cosmo Kramer character in Seinfeld.[9] David then became a writer for and cast member of ABC's Fridays from 1980 to 1982, and a writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1984 to 1985.[10] During his time at SNL, he was able to get only one sketch on the show, which aired at 12:50 AM, the last time slot on the show.[11]

David quit his writing job at SNL in the first season, only to show up to work a few days later acting as though nothing had happened. That event inspired a second-season episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Revenge".[12] David met his future Seinfeld stars during that early stage of his career: he worked with Michael Richards (Kramer) on Fridays[10] and with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine)[11] on SNL.[13][14] He can be heard heckling Michael McKean when McKean hosted SNL in 1984, and he can be seen in the sketch "The Run, Throw, and Catch Like a Girl Olympics" when Howard Cosell hosted the season finale in 1985.[15][16]


Main article: Seinfeld

In 1989 David teamed up with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to create a pilot for NBC called The Seinfeld Chronicles, which became the basis for Seinfeld, one of the most successful shows in history,[17] reaching the top of TV Guide's list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time. Entertainment Weekly ranked it the third-best TV show of all time. David made occasional uncredited appearances on the show, playing such roles as Frank Costanza's cape-wearing lawyer and the voice of George Steinbrenner. He was also the primary inspiration for the show's character George Costanza.[18] David left Seinfeld on friendly terms after the seventh season but returned to write the series finale in 1998, two years later.[19] He also continued to provide the voice for the Steinbrenner character.[20]

David wrote 62 of the episodes of Seinfeld, including 1992's "The Contest", for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award and which TV Guide ranked the episode No. 1 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[21] Syndication of Seinfeld earned David an estimated US$250 million in 1998 alone. This amount has been steadily decreasing each year, but payments will continue until the full $1.7 billion from the original deal has been paid. In 2008 David made $55 million from Seinfeld syndication, DVD sales, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.[22][23] He was nominated for an Emmy[24] award 19 times for Seinfeld, winning twice – once for best comedy and once for writing.[25]

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Main article: Curb Your Enthusiasm
David in December 2009

The HBO cable television channel aired David's 1-hour special, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, on October 17, 1999.[26] This was followed by Curb Your Enthusiasm, a television series on HBO that aired its first episode on October 15, 2000.[26] The show revisits many of the themes of Seinfeld,[27] and is improvised from a story outline only several pages long that David writes (as of the 5th season, additional writers were hired).[28]

The actors improvise their dialogue based on the story outline, direction, and their own creativity. David has said that his character in the show, a fictionalized version of himself, is what he would be like in real life if he lacked social awareness and sensitivity.[29] The character's numerous and frequent social faux pas, misunderstandings, and ironic coincidences are the basis of much of the show's comedy and have led to the entry into the American pop culture lexicon of the expression "Larry David moment", meaning an inadvertently created socially awkward situation.[30]

The basis of the show is the events in David's life following the fortune he earned from the Seinfeld series; David, semi-retired, strives to live a fulfilled life.[31] Alongside David is his wife Cheryl (played by Cheryl Hines), his manager and best friend Jeff (played by Jeff Garlin), and Jeff's wife Susie (played by Susie Essman). Celebrities, including comedians Bob Einstein, Wanda Sykes, and Richard Lewis, appear on the show regularly. Actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have had recurring roles as themselves.[31]

The show is critically acclaimed and has been nominated for 30 Primetime Emmy Awards, with one win, as well as one Golden Globe win. In the first six seasons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander appeared in several episodes, and Jerry Seinfeld made a cameo. In season 7, the cast of Seinfeld, including Michael Richards, returned in a story arc involving David's attempt to organize a Seinfeld reunion special.

On Wednesday, June 2, 2010, the series premiered on the TV Guide Network, making its network television debut. TV Guide Network also produced a series of related discussions with high-profile guest stars, media pundits, and prominent social figures called "Curb: The Discussion" debating the moral implications depicted in each episode. David is quoted as saying "Finally, thanks to the TV Guide Network, I'll get a chance to watch actual, intelligent people discuss and debate the issues addressed on 'Curb'. Now if only someone could tell me where this alleged 'Network' is, I might even watch it."[32]

Other projects

David has also been involved in other films and television series. David wrote and directed the 1998 film Sour Grapes, about two cousins who feud over a casino jackpot.[26] It was neither a commercial nor a critical success.[33][34] He appeared in minor parts in two Woody Allen films Radio Days and New York Stories[35] – before taking the leading role in Allen's New York-based comedy film Whatever Works (2009).[36] Because his daughters were Hannah Montana fans, David, along with his daughters, guest-starred, as themselves, in the episode "My Best Friend's Boyfriend," in which they were waiting for a table at a fancy restaurant.[26] David had a cameo appearance on the HBO series Entourage as a client of Ari Gold, and also appeared as a panelist on the NBC series The Marriage Ref. During the 2008 U.S Presidential Election, David supported and actively campaigned for Barack Obama. In December 2010 David penned an op-ed piece for The New York Times, a sardonic critique of the extension of Bush-era tax cuts headlined "Thanks for the Tax Cut!"[37][38] David played Sister Mary-Mengele in the 2012 reboot of The Three Stooges.[39][40] David co-wrote and starred in the 2013 HBO television film Clear History.

David stars in the Broadway play Fish In The Dark, which he also wrote, alongside Rita Wilson, Jayne Houdyshell and Rosie Perez. The play centers on the death of a family patriarch and opened March 5, 2015.[41][42] As of February 1, 2015, its advance sale of $13.5 million had broken records for a Broadway show.[43]

In 2015 and 2016 David had multiple guest appearances portraying 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live; he also hosted the show on February 6, 2016, with musical guest The 1975 and a cameo from Sanders himself.

Personal life

David married Laurie Lennard on March 31, 1993. They have two daughters, and lived in Pacific Palisades, California.[44] David and his wife became contributing bloggers at The Huffington Post in May 2005.[45][46] On June 5, 2007, the couple announced their intention to separate amicably.[47] Laurie David filed for divorce on July 13, 2007, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking joint custody of the couple's two daughters.[48] As of 2013, David's estimated net worth was $900 million. However, the estimate according to a former Reuters reporter does not take into account the divorce. David also disputes the figure, saying he has nowhere near that amount.[49][50]

The results of a DNA test shown live on Lopez Tonight in 2009 revealed that 37% of David's ethnic lineage might be Native American,[51] though some criticism was shared about the method of testing that the show used.[52] Specifically: "The best known quirk of the test Lopez Tonight is using is its problem distinguishing between Iberian, Italian, and Ashkenazi heritage. Many people of Iberian, Italian and Ashkenazi heritage are assigned Native American ancestry - and Larry David is Ashkenazi." David identifies as an atheist.[53]

Awards and nominations



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? Mort's Friend
1983 Second Thoughts Monroe Clark
1987 Radio Days Communist Neighbor
1989 New York Stories Theater Manager
1998 Sour Grapes Studio Executive/ Annoying Doctor/ Singing Bum Also writer and director
2009 Whatever Works Boris Yelnikoff
2012 The Three Stooges Sister Mary-Mengele
2013 Clear History Nathan Also writer


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1982 Fridays Various Also writer
1984–1985 Saturday Night Live Various Also writer
1989–1998 Seinfeld Various Also co-creator, writer and producer
1993 Love & War Himself Episode: "Let's Not Call It Love"
2000–2017 Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry David Also creator, writer and executive producer
2004 Entourage Himself Episode: "New York"
2005 Earth to America Himself Television special
2007 Hannah Montana Himself Episode: "My Best Friend's Boyfriend"
2010 Totally Tracked Down Himself Episode: "Master of Her Domain"
2010 Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert for Autism Education Himself Television special
2011 The Paul Reiser Show Himself Episode: "The Father's Occupation"
2013 Clear History Nathan Flomm Television film; also writer and producer
2014 TripTank Himself (voice) Episode: "Roy & Ben's Day Off"
2015 The League Future Ruxin Episode: "The Great Night of Shiva"
2015–2016 Saturday Night Live Bernie Sanders 6 episodes
2016 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Larry David/The 1975"


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Fish in the Dark Norman Drexel Also writer
Cort Theatre


  1. Divorce document (PDF).
  2. "Larry David". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  3. Steve Heisler (June 2, 2010). "Improv on TV: How Curb Your Enthusiasm Gets It Right". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  4. 1 2 "The comedians' comedian". Chortle. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  5. "Why The `Seinfeld' Fuss? `Model' Parents Don'T Understand All The Hype Over Sitcom - Or Its Curtain Call". 1998-05-07. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  6. "Larry David Spotted on Campus". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  7. "Some of Maryland's Distinguished Alumni". University of Maryland. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  8. David, Larry (2004-02-15). "My War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  9. McShane, Larry. "The real Kramer says actor no racist: But Richards is 'paranoid,' 'very wound-up'", Chicago Sun-Times, November 26, 2006. Accessed August 11, 2009. "The real Kramer lived for 10 years in a Hell's Kitchen apartment across the hall from Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, and his life became the framework for Richards' quirky, bumbling Seinfeld sidekick."
  10. 1 2 Marin, Rick (2000-07-16). "The Great and Wonderful Wizard of Odds". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  11. 1 2 Shales, Tom (2005-11-12). "'SNL in the '80s': The Last Laugh On a Trying Decade". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  12. ""Seinfeld" The Revenge (1991)". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  13. Koltnow, Barry (1997-05-30). "Eager Actor Finds Kramer a Bit of a Trial". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  14. Kolbert, Elizabeth (1993-06-03). "Julia Louis-Dreyfus: She Who Gives 'Seinfeld' Estrogen". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  15. "Saturday Night Live". Retrieved 2008-04-21.
  16. Transcript of Michael McKean's monologue, voice of audience member: Larry David
  17. Carter, Bill (1997-12-26). "Seinfeld Says It's All Over, And It's No Joke for NBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  18. "The 'real' George Costanza sues Seinfeld for $100 million". CNN. 1998-10-26. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  19. Dancis, Bruce (2007-11-05). "DVD Review: 'Seinfeld: Season 9' wraps up all the hilarious nothingness". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  20. "Still ... seventh-season DVD shines". The Sacramento Bee. 2006-11-21.
  21. "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time" TV Guide; June 15, 2009; Pages 34–49
  22. "Who's the richest? Seinfeld". Associated Press. 1999-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  23. "#65 Larry David – The 2009 Celebrity 100". Forbes. 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  24. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (2012). "Larry David". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  25. "Larry David". Retrieved 2008-04-21.
  26. 1 2 3 4 "Larry David (I)". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  27. "COMEDY CLUB.(Jerry Seinfeld: a film 'Comedian,' and his influence on the 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' TV show)". The New Yorker. 2002-10-28. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
  28. "'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Seinfeld' Writers Talk About the Legend of Larry David". RollingStone. 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  29. "Larry David Talks Dating Post-Divorce, 'Seinfeld' and Wealth". Rolling Stone. July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  30. David Brinn (October 8, 2009). "'Yeah, I'm available for Woody Allen'". Jerusalem Post.
  31. 1 2 rick mcginnis (2004). "Once Upon A Time In Mexico Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment DVD". Life with Blog: Father. rick mcginnis. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  32. "TV Guide Network Teams-up with Legendary Show Creator Larry David to Launch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Exclusive Extras Hosted by Series Regular Susie Essman". March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  33. "Sour Grapes". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  34. "Sour Grapes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  35. Sperling, Nicole (2008-02-06). "Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood to star in Woody Allen's next movie". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  36. "Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood to star in Woody Allen's next movie". Hollywood Insider. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  37. "Reuters: Larry David "Praises" Tax Cuts for Rich in NY Times". 2010-12-21.
  38. David, Larry (2010-12-20). "Thanks for the Tax Cut!". The New York Times.
  39. "Larry David Torments 'The Three Stooges' And 'Hunger Games' Finds More Tributes In Today's Casting Call » MTV Movies Blog". Retrieved 2011-06-13.
  40. The Three Stooges at the Internet Movie Database
  41. "Fish In The Dark". Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  42. Zinoman, Jason (January 28, 2015). "Enthusiasm, Entirely Uncurbed: Larry David's 'Fish in the Dark' Comes to Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  43. "Enthusiasm, Entirely Uncurbed ; Larry David's 'Fish in the Dark' Comes to Broadway" The New York Times, January 28, 2015
  44. "News for "Seinfeld" (1990)". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  45. "Laurie David's Huffington Post blogger page". Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  46. "Larry David's Huffington Post blogger page". Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  47. Johnson, Richard (2007-06-05). "Newly Single". New York Post. Archived from the original on June 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  48. Finn, Natalie (2007-07-19). "Divorcing Larry David". E!. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  49. Horgan, Richard. "Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld: Nothing But Net Worth". Retrieved 2014-08-29.
  50. "Larry David - Net Worth - Check123, Video Encyclopedia". Check123 - Video Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  51. Extra TV (Nov 13, 2009). "Larry David's Surprising DNA Test on 'Lopez Tonight'". Warner Bros. Retrieved Dec 27, 2010.
  52. Playing with DNA: Is Larry David Really 37 Percent Native American? Megan Smolenyak The Huffington Post December 24, 2009.
  53. Dolan, Deirdre (2006). Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Book. Gotham Books. p. Front Matter.

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