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Larry David
David in 2009
Birth nameLawrence Gene David
Born (1947-07-02) July 2, 1947 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BA)
Years active1977–present
  • (m. 1993; div. 2007)
  • Ashley Underwood
    (m. 2020)
Children2, including Cazzie
Relative(s)Julie Claire (niece)
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army Reserve
Years of service1970–1975
Awards National Defense Service Medal

Lawrence Gene David (born July 2, 1947) is an American comedian, writer, actor, and television producer.[1] He and Jerry Seinfeld created the NBC television sitcom Seinfeld, of which David was head writer and executive producer for the first seven seasons. He gained further recognition for creating and writing the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which he also stars as a fictionalized version of himself.[2] David's work on Seinfeld won him two Primetime Emmy Awards in 1993, for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series;[3] he was nominated 17 other times.[4]

Formerly a stand-up comedian, David went into television comedy, writing and starring in ABC's Fridays, and writing briefly for Saturday Night Live. He has been nominated for 27 Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. Fellow comedians and comedy insiders voted him the 23rd-greatest comedy star ever in a 2004 British poll to select "The Comedian's Comedian",[5] and he received the Writers Guild of America's Laurel Award in 2010.[6] He made his Broadway debut writing and starring in the comedic play Fish in the Dark (2015). Since 2015 he has made recurring guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, where he impersonates 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is also his sixth cousin once removed.[7][8][9][10]

Early life and education


David was born on July 2, 1947, in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. His parents are Rose (née Regina Brandes) and Mortimer Julius "Morty" David, a men's clothing manufacturer, and he has an older brother, Ken.[11] David's family is Jewish. His American Jewish father's family moved from Germany to the U.S. during the 19th century, while David's mother was born into a Polish-Jewish family in Ternopil, now in Ukraine, and her mother's family name was revealed as Superfein.[12]

David graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School, now defunct and operating as Frank J. Macchiarola Educational Complex, in 1965. A sign with his photo is displayed in one of the complex's hallways. He then attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a brother in Tau Epsilon Phi.[13] He graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in history.[14][15] At college, he discovered that he could make people laugh simply by being himself.[12] After college, David enlisted in the United States Army Reserve for five years.[16]



1980–1987: Stand-up and SNL


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 Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, across the hall from Kenny Kramer, the inspiration for the Cosmo Kramer character in Seinfeld.[17] From 1980 to 1982, David became a writer and cast member for ABC's Fridays, where he worked with Michael Richards, who later played Kramer on Seinfeld.[18]

From 1984 to 1985, David was a writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live (SNL) and met Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also worked on the show in this period.[19][18][20] During his time at SNL, he was able to get only one sketch on the air, which aired at 12:50 am, the show's last time slot.[19][21] David quit his job at SNL in the first season, only to show up to work two days later acting as though nothing had happened. That event inspired the second-season Seinfeld episode "The Revenge".[22][23] He can be heard heckling Michael McKean when McKean hosted SNL in 1984, and can be seen in the sketch "The Run, Throw, and Catch Like a Girl Olympics" when Howard Cosell hosted the season finale in 1985.[24][25] In 1987, David was a writer and performer for Way Off Broadway, a variety talk show on Lifetime hosted by Joy Behar.[26][27]

1989–1998: Breakthrough with 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,[28] 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.[29] David left Seinfeld on friendly terms after the show's seventh season and returned two years later to write the series finale in 1998.[30] He also continued to voice Steinbrenner.[31]

David wrote 62 Seinfeld episodes, including 1992's "The Contest", for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award and which TV Guide ranked as episode No. 1 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[32] He 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. It was neither a commercial nor a critical success.[33][34] He has also appeared in bit roles in Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987) and New York Stories (1989).[35]

1999–2024: Curb Your Enthusiasm and acclaim

David in December 2009

The HBO cable television channel aired David's one-hour special, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, on October 17, 1999.[36] This was followed by Curb Your Enthusiasm, an HBO television series whose first episode aired on October 15, 2000.[37] The show revisits many of the themes of Seinfeld[38] and is improvised from a story outline only several pages long written by David (and, from the fifth season onward, additional writers).[39]

The actors improvise their dialogue based on the outline, direction, and their 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.[40] 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. Curb Your Enthusiasm has been described as depicting "the things nobody wants to say, but wish they could".[41]

The show is based on David's life following the fortune he earned from Seinfeld; semi-retired, he strives to live a fulfilled life.[42] Alongside David is his wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), his manager and best friend Jeff (Jeff Garlin), and Jeff's wife Susie (Susie Essman). Celebrities, including comedians Richard Lewis, Wanda Sykes, and Bob Einstein, appeared on the show regularly. Actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have had recurring roles as themselves.[42]

The show is critically acclaimed and has been nominated for 30 Primetime Emmy Awards, with one win, as well as a Golden Globe win. In the first six seasons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander appear in several episodes, and Jerry Seinfeld has a cameo. In season 7, the cast of Seinfeld, including Michael Richards, return in a story arc involving David's attempt to organize a Seinfeld reunion special. On June 2, 2010, the series premiered on the TV Guide Network, 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 of 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."[43] The show's 12th and final season premiered in January 2024.[44]

David played the leading role in Woody Allen's 2009 comedy film Whatever Works alongside Evan Rachel Wood.[45] He had a cameo appearance on the HBO series Entourage as a client of Ari Gold, and because his daughters were Hannah Montana fans, David and his daughters guest-starred as themselves in the episode "My Best Friend's Boyfriend", in which they wait for a table at a fancy restaurant.[46] David appeared as a panelist on the NBC series The Marriage Ref and also played Sister Mary-Mengele in the 2012 reboot of The Three Stooges.[47] He co-wrote and starred in the 2013 HBO television film Clear History. David wrote and starred in the Broadway play Fish in the Dark. Also appearing were Rita Wilson, Jayne Houdyshell, and Rosie Perez. The play centers on the death of a family patriarch. It opened on March 5, 2015. Jason Alexander took over David's role in July. The play closed in August.[48][49] As of February 1, 2015, its advance sale of $13.5 million had broken records for a Broadway show.[49]

Bernie Sanders


Since 2015, David has made multiple guest appearances portraying 2016 and 2020 United States presidential election candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live; he also hosted the show on February 6, 2016, with musical guest The 1975 and a cameo by Sanders himself, and on November 4, 2017, with musical guest Miley Cyrus.

In 2017, PBS's Finding Your Roots discovered through genealogical research that David and Sanders are distantly related. Sanders told David the news. "I was very happy about that," David said, according to Variety. "I thought there must have been some connection." The comedian explained that Sanders is "a third cousin or something."[50][10] He is in fact David's sixth cousin once removed.[51][52][53][10]

On January 8, 2020, David joked on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, "I would say, I would beg him [Bernie] to drop out so I don't have to keep flying in from Los Angeles to do SNL. I thought when he had the heart attack that would be it, I wouldn't have to fly in from Los Angeles. But, you know, he's indestructible. Nothing stops this man!" He later added, "If he wins, do you know what that's going to do to my life? Do you have any idea? I mean, it will be great for the country—great for the country, terrible for me."[54]



David has named Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Phil Silvers, Abbott and Costello, Jackie Mason, Alan King, Don Rickles, and Mad magazine as influences.[55][56][57]

Personal life


David lives in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. He was married to Laurie Lennard from 1993 to 2007.[58][59] They have two daughters, Cazzie David and Romy David.[58] Larry and Laurie became contributing bloggers at The Huffington Post in 2005.[60][61] In 2017, David was introduced to producer Ashley Underwood at a birthday party for Sacha Baron Cohen. They married in 2020.[62] David's niece is actress Julie Claire, who appears in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.[63]

David is a supporter of the Democratic Party.[64] In 2010, he wrote an article for The New York Times criticizing the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. He ended the article with a sarcastic thank-you to then-President Barack Obama for approving the extension.[65]

David is an atheist[66] and an avid sports fan. A native New Yorker, he supports the New York Jets, Yankees, Knicks and Rangers.[67]



In 2013, Charlie Rose estimated David's net worth at around $500 million.[68] Two years later, two other estimates put the number between $400 million[69] and $900 million.[70] In 2020, National Review offered an estimate of about $400 million.[71]

Most of David's wealth originates from syndication deals of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, the former having netted $3.1 billion in rerun fees as of 2013.[70] The syndication of Seinfeld earned David an estimated $250 million in 1998 alone.[72] In 2008, David was reported to have grossed $55 million, mostly from Seinfeld syndication and work on Curb Your Enthusiasm.[72][73]

David's net worth was parodied in a 2001 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Shrimp Incident", in which HBO executive Allan Wasserman yells at David: "If you want shrimp, take your $475 million, go buy a shrimp boat."[74]

In a 2015 interview with CBS, David confirmed that half of his wealth was eroded by his 2007 divorce in the community property state of California.[68] "I have a lot of money", he said, adding that the "figures out there are crazy".[68]


David was among several celebrities who appeared in a commercial for cryptocurrency exchange FTX that aired during Super Bowl LVI.[75][76] In November 2022, FTX filed for bankruptcy, and David, alongside other spokespeople, was sued in a class-action lawsuit.[77] In February 2022, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a lawsuit against Bitconnect that the Securities Act of 1933 extends to targeted solicitation using social media.[78]




Year Title Role Notes
1977 It Happened at Lakewood Manor Extra in crowd near hotel
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
2004 Envy Executive producer
2009 Whatever Works Boris Yelnikoff
2012 The Three Stooges Sister Mary-Mengele
2015 Misery Loves Comedy Himself Documentary
2016 The First Monday in May Himself (cameo) Documentary
2016 All the Rage Himself Documentary
2017 Where Have You Gone, Lou diMaggio? Himself Documentary
2017 Miracle on 42nd Street Himself Documentary
2017 Long Shot Himself Documentary
2021 The Super Bob Einstein Movie Himself HBO documentary
2023 Albert Brooks: Defending My Life Himself Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1982 Fridays Various 54 episodes; also writer
1984–1985 Saturday Night Live 7 episodes; also writer
1987 It's Garry Shandling's Show Wrote episode: "Sarah"
Credited as Mac Brandes
1987 Way Off Broadway Various Also writer
1989–1998 Seinfeld George Steinbrenner (voice), Newman (voice)[a], various roles 180 episodes; also co-creator, writer and producer
1993 Love & War Himself Episode: "Let's Not Call It Love"
1999 Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm One-hour special;
also creator, writer and executive producer
2000–2024 Curb Your Enthusiasm Also creator, writer and executive producer
2004 Entourage Episode: "New York"
2007 Hannah Montana Episode: "My Best Friend's Boyfriend"
2011 The Paul Reiser Show Episode: "The Father's Occupation"
2012 Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Himself (guest) Episode: Larry Eats a Pancake
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"
2015–2020 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) / Bernie Sanders 15 episodes
2016 Maya & Marty Himself Episode: "Jimmy Fallon & Miley Cyrus"
2022 Toast of Tinseltown Sola Mirronek Episodes: "Anger Man" and "The Scorecard"


Year Title Role Theatre Notes Ref.
2015 Fish in the Dark Norman Drexel Cort Theatre, Broadway Also writer [79]

Written works

  • David, Larry (January 1, 2006). "Cowboys Are My Weakness". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  • David, Larry (December 20, 2010). "Thanks for the Tax Cut!". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  • David, Larry (July 23, 2018). "The Most Important Meal of the Day". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  • David, Larry (August 10, 2018). "What Really Happened at Trump Tower". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  • David, Larry (November 18, 2019). "On the First-World Campaign Trail". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. Vol. 95, no. 36. p. 29. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  • David, Larry (November 22, 2019). "Imagining What Keeps Trump Up at Night". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  • David, Larry (November 29, 2021). "Larry David's Notes for His Biographer". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 5, 2021.

Awards and nominations


David has received numerous awards, including two Emmy Awards, three Producers Guild of America Awards, and three Writers Guild of America Awards. He has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and six Screen Actors Guild Awards. Fellow comedians and comedy insiders voted David the 23rd-greatest comedy star ever in a poll to select The Comedian's Comedian.[5]


  1. ^ David voices an offscreen Newman in "The Revenge". After that, Newman was played by Wayne Knight


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Further reading

  • Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good: Larry David and the Making of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm by Josh Levine (ECW Press, 2010)