Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon

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9780060188726: Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon

Celebrity biographer Oppenheimer (Martha Stewart: Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography) now turns his penetrating eye to the notoriously private multimillionaire stand-up comic, whose response to this salacious page-turner will probably take the tone of his ever-popular phrase, "Hello, Newman." Oppenheimer spares nothing and no one in this saucy expos , covering Seinfeld's modest beginnings in Massapequa, Long Island (Seinfeld famously quipped that the town's name is Indian for "near the mall"), his days at SUNY Oswego and then Queens College, his introduction to the booming 1980s comedy club scene and his eventual launch of the most successful sitcom of the '90s. Oppenheimer digs up sources ranging from Seinfeld's neighbors and old classmates to rabbis, fellow comedians and, of course, ex-girlfriends. In fact, much of the book focuses on Seinfeld's apparent fear of commitment and his tendency to date the same type of woman (Jewish and noticeably younger than he). The author holds nothing back in giving the blow-by-blow of Seinfeld's romances with a teenage Shoshanna Lonstein and, later, freshly divorced (after a three-month marriage) Jessica Sklar. Regarding Seinfeld's career, Oppenheimer attributes the comic's success less to acting skills than simply a desire to be funny. Seinfeld's first shot at stand-up (at a Manhattan club's open mike night) was a disaster, but always the perfectionist he persevered and eventually hit it big. Oppenheimer who has indeed become a master of his own domain delivers a rollicking, sensational account of this "one-time poor boy from blue-collar Long Island who [became] very wealthy from being very funny."

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