The Cast of Seinfeld: Then and Now

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    After "Seinfeld" went off the air in 1998, hopes were high for the four talented and uber-popular actors who had made the sitcom one of television's most popular programs in history.

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    Michael Richards' Kramer was arguably the show's most beloved character. Other than lead character Jerry Seinfeld, who obviously could have been played by no one else, Richards' portrayal was so singular, having another actor in the role was unthinkable.

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    How Richards would fare post-Kramer was a source of much Seinfeldian speculation. It turned out Richards' brand of physical comedy was more suited to a supporting role, as the short-lived "The Michael Richards Show" proved in 2000. But that would be the least of Richards' problems. In 2006, he went off on a racist rant onstage at a comedy club that was caught on camera. He hasn't really recovered since, so the "Curb" gig could be just what he needs to rehabilitate his image.

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    Jason Alexander's George Costanza was a neurotic layabout who spent more time and effort not having a job than most people spend working at one. Could Alexander shed the role, or would he always be typecast as George?

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    Answer: typecast! He tried to alter his persona in his first post-Seinfeld sitcom, "Bob Patterson," but when that was canceled after 9 episodes in 2001, Alexander re-embraced George with relish in "Listen Up!" That one lasted twice as long, before getting canned.

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus played "Elaine," Jerry's ex-girlfriend. She was added to the original cast late when it was decided the group needed a female presence. A good idea.

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    Louis-Dreyfus has achieved the most post-"Seinfeld" sitcom success of the bunch, starring in the NBC sitcom "Watching Ellie," which lasted two seasons, and the still-on-TV "The New, Old Christine," now in its fourth season, for which she is here shown winning an Emmy in 2007.

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    Jerry Seinfeld ruled network television in the 1990s. Hard to top that.

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    So he didn't even try. Seinfeld has kept his projects small and well-spaced. His biggest leap was the animated film "Bee Movie," which was a success, but hardly a blockbuster. But something tells us he doesn't really care, seeing he is worth over half a billion dollars.