Michael Anthony Richards has professionally worked as an American actor, writer, television producer, and comedian. He is known for his best performance in the television sitcom Seinfeld. 

He started his career as a stand-up comedian, and he first gained national attention when he appeared on Billy Crystal’s first cable television special. He started to get famous at that time.

Michael Richards: Early Life

Michael Anthony Richards was born on July 24, 1949, in Culver City, California. Richards is the son of Phyllis Richards, an Italian-born medical records librarian, and William Richards, a Scottish-born electrical engineer. Michael Richards graduated from thousand Oaks High School. In 1968, he appeared on The Dating Game as a contestant. He was, however, passed over for the date.

He appeared on several television shows, including Cheers, as a guest star. His few starring appearances are in So I Married an Axe Murderer, Airheads, Young Doctors in Love, Problem Child, Coneheads, UHF, and Trial, and Error.

He starred in Seinfeld as Cosmo Kramer from 1989 to 1998. He had a guest appearance in Mad About You during the run of Seinfeld. Following Seinfeld, he starred in “The Michael Richards Show,” which was cancelled after two months. He won the Primetime Emmy Award three times for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Richards returned to stand-up comedy after Seinfeld concluded in 1998. In 2006, he sparked outrage when a video of him going on a racist rant against hecklers while performing at the Laugh Factory was released. 

The incident significantly harmed his career, and he declared his retirement from stand-up comedy in early 2007 due to extensive media coverage of the incident. 

In 2009, he returned to the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm as himself, for the first time since Seinfeld’s end, with his fellow cast members and mocked his episode at the Laugh Factory. In 2013, he starred in the one-season sitcom Kirstie, in which he played Frank.

Michael Richards’ most memorable achievements

Seinfeld

In 1989, Richards was cast as Cosmo Kramer in the NBC television series Seinfeld, developed by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, a fellow Friday cast member. Despite a rocky start, by the mid-1990s, it had established itself as one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. In 1998, it ended after a nine-year run at the top of the Nielsen ratings.

The Michael Richards Show

Following the conclusion of Seinfeld in 2000, Richards began work on a new NBC sitcom, his first significant project since the show’s finale. The Michael Richards Show was envisioned as a comedy/mystery starring Richards as a fumbling private detective, for which he obtained co-writer and co-executive producer honors. After the first pilot flopped with test audiences, NBC ordered that the show be retooled into a more conventional, office-based sitcom before its release. It was cancelled after a few weeks of low ratings and scathing reviews.

The 2006 Laugh Factory incident

Richards went on a racist rant at a performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, California, on November 17, 2006, in response to heckling and interruptions from a small group of black audience members. Kyle Doss, a group member, explained that the group had come in the middle of the performance and was “being a little loud.” Richards was repeatedly heard saying, “He’s a nigger!” about lynchings and the Jim Crow era.

Cameo roles, guest appearances, and film roles

Richards appeared in the HBO series The Larry Sanders Show in Episode 2 of Season 1, “The Flirt Episode” (1992).

He also had a cameo appearance as an “insensitive male” in the comedic thriller film, So I Married an Axe Murderer.

In Airheads, he played Doug Beech, a radio station staffer, and co-starred with Jeff Daniels as an actor posing as a trial and error lawyer.

He also appeared in Miami Vice, Night Court, and Cheers as a guest star. Jerry Seinfeld appeared in and produced the animated feature Bee Movie, in which he portrayed Bud Ditchwater’s role.

Richards and the other key Seinfeld cast members made an appearance in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s seventh season in 2009.

Richards starred in Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in 2012.

In 2014, he made an appearance as the president of Crackle in a Season 5 promo. According to Seinfeld, the premise from the trailer would be built on in one of the episodes.

How Star Michael Richards Destroyed His Career in 3 Minutes in “Seinfeld”

After his show failed to launch, Richards performed stand-up comedy. But that new career venture didn’t last long. Richards’s berating of a black audience member surfaced, including several racial slurs. The three-minute video essentially ended Richards’ career and credibility, Looper reported. 

His racist tirade destroyed his ‘Seinfeld’ legacy. Fans found Kramer and the actor who played him to be silly, goofy, and fun before 2006. But the public perception was ruined after seeing the Seinfeld alum at his absolute worst. Richards’ career was never the same again.

Michael Richards Net Worth

Michael Richards’ net worth and salary: Michael Richards is a $30 million dollar American actor. He is a comedian and actor best known for his role as Cosmo Kramer on the famous 1990s comedy “Seinfeld.”

Michael Richards Seinfeld Salary

Supporting cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander were paid a pittance for their labour on Seinfeld during the first several seasons. Before season 5, in 1993, they were able to negotiate hikes that saw them each receive $150,000 per episode, or $3.8 million every season.

Supporting cast members fought for a large pay hike in May 1997, hoping for $1 million per show. The network retaliated with $200,000, followed by $400,000. They were paid $600,000 per episode for the show’s last season, which amounted to nearly $15 million per episode. That equates to about $24 million in today’s dollars. Before inflation, Seinfeld’s supporting cast members earned almost $45 million in basic pay.

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