Larry David Comedian, Actor This Emotional Life - PBS

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Larry David

Comedian, Actor

Larry David is a comedian, actor, and writer whose credits include television shows Fridays, Saturday Night Live, and Seinfeld. He recently starred in Whatever Works, a film by Woody Allen, and currently produces, writes, and stars in HBO’s series Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry David grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and attended Sheepshead Bay High School. Of his youth, he says, “I had a wonderful childhood, which is tough because it's hard to adjust to a miserable adulthood.” Not a surprising quote from a man whose alter ego came to life in the form of George Costanza on the television series, “Seinfeld,” which he co-created.

After attending the University of Maryland, David embarked on a career as a stand-up comedian in 1974. That career was peppered with odd jobs, including cab driver, bra salesman, and private chauffeur. In 1979, he moved to Los Angeles when he was hired as a writer and performer on the late night comedy series “Fridays.”  The show lasted until 1982, at which point he moved back to New York and eventually landed a job as a writer for “Saturday Night Live.”

A friend of Jerry Seinfeld since 1976 when the two were performing in comedy clubs, Seinfeld solicited David’s advice in 1988 when he was asked to develop a show for NBC. The two came up with the idea for “Seinfeld,” which debuted in 1989, and went on to become one of the most successful shows in television history. David occasionally appeared on the show, playing roles like New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He was Emmy-nominated seven times for his writing on “Seinfeld”, and won in 1993 for the now classic episode “The Contest”. He also shared an Emmy that year for “Outstanding Comedy Series” (as well as sharing six other nominations). In addition, David won WGA awards for his work on “Seinfeld” in both 1994 and 1995. He left the show after serving as head writer and executive producer for seven seasons, but returned to write the series finale in 1998, two years later.

Larry David’s trademark is his sarcastic wit, and his socially awkward situations and plot lines are heavily inspired from daily life. The episode of Seinfeld, for example, in which George Costanza quits his job and then returns as if nothing happens, was inspired by Larry David’s own experience at SNL. Larry David was Emmy-nominated seven times for his writing on Seinfeld, and in 1993, won the award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series. In 1998, he wrote and directed the film Sour Grapes, and, in 1999, received an AFI Star Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

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