Date of Birth: July 21, 1948
Although the fictional Kramer on Seinfeld that Michael Richards plays is supposed to live in New York, there's something very Los Angeles about Cosmo Kramer. The character seems too prefabricated, cheesy, rootless and out of time to be a New Yorker. But maybe that's appropriate since the man who created him is actually from the city of Angels and not the Big Apple. In fact, growing up Richards credits the classic comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy as one of his influences, primary because he could recognize many of the locations in their films that were shot around Los Angeles.
The man who turned his TV character's name into a household word first thought of becoming an actor after taking an acting class in eighth grade. "After that," he says, "I never left it; it was all I lived for. Everything else in school was superfluous."
Although he did stay in school, eventually even earning a degree at the Evergreen State College in Washington State, before heading back to Los Angeles to find work. Once back in his hometown, he hit the comedy club circuit and it was there that you could say Kramer was really being born. "I never told jokes," he says. "My opener was six minutes about a guy who couldn't remember his act. I stood there for minutes not knowing what to say. Just stood there acting as naturally as possible."
Always a class cutup, you can bet that Richards' "natural" was as funny as his Kramer is crazy -- or not so crazy, as Richards avows that he began playing the character as if he was always a few steps behind but didn't really click with Kramer until he started playing him as if he was already blocks ahead of everyone else.
Trial and Error (1996)
Unstrung Heroes (1995)
So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)
Problem Child (1990)
Whoops Apocalypse (1986)
Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)
Young Doctors in Love (1982)