Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon [NOOK Book]

Overview

The never-before-told story of how Jerry Seinfeld made his dream come true -- of how this very ambitious, extremely driven, compulsively perfectionistic carefully worked his way up through the knock-down-drag-out world of stand-up comedy as it began to explode in the mid-1970s, & how he went on to co-create in the late 80s what is considered to be the most successful TV sitcom in its history. From the start, Jerry has been extremely private about all aspects of his personal life. For more than a year, ...

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Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon

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Overview

The never-before-told story of how Jerry Seinfeld made his dream come true -- of how this very ambitious, extremely driven, compulsively perfectionistic carefully worked his way up through the knock-down-drag-out world of stand-up comedy as it began to explode in the mid-1970s, & how he went on to co-create in the late 80s what is considered to be the most successful TV sitcom in its history. From the start, Jerry has been extremely private about all aspects of his personal life. For more than a year, Oppenheimer conducted in-depth interviews with scores of Jerry s closes friends, family members, bus. assoc., lovers, & fellow comedians who spoke candidly, painting a riveting portrait of the beloved & talented comedian.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Although the comedian shared a name with his TV alter ego, the real Jerry Seinfeld story isn't about "nothing." As rendered by unauthorized biographer Jerry Oppenheimer, the Emmy-winning master of his domain has been fascinated by the art of being funny ever since he was a little wise guy. Long before his permanent brush with fame, this Brooklyn-born Queens College graduate earned his stand-up stripes working raucous lounges in the Catskill Borscht Belt and the competitive arena of Manhattan's Catch a Rising Star club. Even his sitcom success had a bitter prologue: In 1980, Jerry secured a role on the Benson show but was fired after only four episodes. Based on scores of interviews with family members and colleagues, Oppenheimer's life of Jerry presents a man we only thought we knew.
Publishers Weekly
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." Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Joni Evans. (On sale Aug. 6) Forecast: Seinfeld's 1993 autobiography, SeinLanguage, was a bestseller. Fans of the TV show of which there are legions and anyone looking for a juicy summer read will be all over Oppenheimer's book like white on rice.
Library Journal
Oppenheimer has taken on tough cookies like Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart, so he probably won't have too much trouble with the king of irony. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062030818
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 84,077
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jerry Oppenheimer has written bestselling biographies of other American icons, including Bill and Hillary Clinton (State of a Union), Martha Stewart (Just Desserts), Ethel Kennedy (The Other Mrs. Kennedy), Barbara Walters (Barbara Walters: An Unauthorized Biography), and Rock Hudson (Idol: The True Story of an American Film Hero).

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Table of Contents

Prologue xi
1 Family Roots 1
2 Tojo, Television, and Holy Water 6
3 And Betty Makes Two 10
4 Near the Mall 14
5 Moving On Up 22
6 Tough Times 26
7 Becoming a Man 35
8 High School Loner 42
9 Romeo and Juliet 51
10 To Israel, with Love 56
11 Sex, Drugs, and Suzukis 64
12 Campus Odd Couple 72
13 I Just Want to Be Funny 81
14 Queens College Days 87
15 Girl Trouble 95
16 Catskills Forays 102
17 I Want to Do Stand-up 110
18 Peanuts on the Bar 116
19 The Dianetics Kid 123
20 Doctor Comedy 133
21 Major Changes 142
22 Strange Bedfellows 148
23 Faster Than a Speeding Bullet 156
24 Welcome to L.A. 169
25 The Benson Fiasco 177
26 Jerry Does Johnny 184
27 Comedy Club Bonanza 192
28 Love and Death 199
29 Sex, Money, and Accolades 206
30 L.A. Story 218
31 Birth of Seinfeld 232
32 Press War 239
33 Fame Is Free 246
34 Love in All the Wrong Places 259
35 L'Affaire Lonstein 271
36 Ups and Downs in TV Land 280
37 Designing Woman 287
38 The End of Life as We Know It 301
39 The Marrying Kind 315
40 Stop, Thief! 331
41 And Baby Makes Three 347
Acknowledgments 361
Notes and Sources 363
Index 385
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Interviews & Essays

It's Not About Nothing: Jerry Oppenheimer Discusses His "Must-Read Book" on Jerry Seinfeld

One of the areas of Jerry Seinfeld's life that intrigued me most during my almost two years of researching and writing Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon was his business acumen, his prescient ability to say no to offers that other comics would have jumped at, head first, without thinking.

When, for example, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson first offered him a shot, Jerry initially turned down the spectacular offer. It wasn't because he lacked confidence in his talent but rather because he had seen a fellow comic seemingly go down in flames on the show -- because, in Jerry's thinking, he wasn't thoroughly prepared. Jerry didn't want that to happen to him. So he patiently waited to appear on Carson's show until he had a dynamite five minutes of material, and more powerful routines to follow. And when he did appear for the first time on Tonight in 1981, Jerry's career was launched like a rocket to the moon.

Along with his sense of humor, Jerry had inherited his talent for entrepreneurship from his salesman father, Kal Seinfeld, who went from peddling fake holy water to successfully hawking business signs. Jerry credits his father, who died in 1985, for all of the good things that happened to him through his spectacular career, and he even used the character of Kal Seinfeld in his TV show.

I also found it fascinating that Jerry had a remarkable sense of timing, not only in his stand-up act and his "must-see-TV" sitcom, but also in real life. All his career steps, as I track them in the book, were carefully timed, perfectly planned. He decided to get into stand-up just as the comedy club business was starting to boom -- many of the clubs replacing discos, an entertainment form whose day had passed. He also put together a strong, tightly knit team of managers, agents, and publicists.

At that time, he told his booking agent that he wanted to work 50 weeks a year, 52 if he had to, to become a road warrior, to become the best stand-up ever, a household name. And through incredibly hard work and with his immense talent, he succeeded far beyond anyone's imagination.

Once again his timing was right-on when he accepted NBC's offer to do the show that became Seinfeld, because at that point, the comedy club boom was running out of gas. Jerry's is a true Horatio Alger story -- a kid who came from modest means on Long Island to become a comedic and creative genius. Like his childhood comic book hero, Superman, Jerry Seinfeld seems invincible.

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