Jason Alexander

An Unexpected Gift
How a Shy Loner Fell into a Brilliant Performing Career

“[Regarding the decision to end Seinfeld]…funny is not the obstacle here. The obstacle was that after nine seasons, the audience could more or less anticipate how any of these characters would react in any given situation. There was nothing new that we could do with these characters and still have it be Seinfeld…In our minds [the show] had become creatively predictable and nobody wanted it to be that.”

We like to think we can predict how our lives will turn out, or at least the directions they could take. But all it takes is a chance meeting and one simple question to turn everything on its head. In this episode, former Seinfeld star, Jason Alexander, shares his remarkable story of how a “shy loner” suddenly found himself loving being on stage where he acted, sang and danced his way into an incredible career that would later include both film and television.

Jason Alexander is an accomplished actor, comedian, dancer, singer, and director. He is best known for his role as George Costanza on Seinfeld (1989–1998), for which he was nominated for seven consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. He has an extensive list of credits to his name, including appearing in the film, Pretty Woman, with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. His professional career began on stage when he was a young teen. He has appeared in several Broadway musicals, including Jerome Robbins’ Broadway in 1989, for which he won the Tony Award as Best Leading Actor in a Musical, and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Alexander has also enjoyed directing several musicals.

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • Jason discusses his childhood obsession with magic – and being a “loner kid”
  • He shares the unexpected question from a complete stranger when he was 12 that completely changed his life
  • How Ben Vereen unknowingly and profoundly influenced Jason as a boy 
  • Jason’s life as a “latch-key kid”
  • The deliberate efforts Jason made to overcome feeling intimidated by the world
  • How Jason’s unusual view of auditions benefited his career
  • The powerful insight about himself that came from observing his two sons
  • What happened when a respected teacher’s words derailed Jason’s career plan
  • Why one commercial was successful for nine years
  • His bumpy journey to getting the role of Phillip Stuckey on Pretty Woman
  • How phone books contributed to him getting that role
  • How Jason developed the Seinfeld character, George Costanza
  • Why the Seinfeld series ended after nine seasons
  • What Jason has been doing since Seinfeld

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