Michael Anthony Richards (born July 24, 1949) is an American actor, writer, television producer and comedian, widely known for his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer on the television sitcom Seinfeld, for which he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series three times.
Richards began his career as a stand-up comedian, first entering the national spotlight when he was featured on Billy Crystal’s first cable TV special. He went on to become a series regular on ABC’s Fridays. Prior to Seinfeld, he made numerous guest appearances on a variety of television shows, such as Cheers. His film credits include So I Married an Axe Murderer, Airheads, Young Doctors in Love, Problem Child, Coneheads, UHF, and Trial and Error, one of his few starring roles. During the run of Seinfeld, he made a guest appearance in Mad About You. After Seinfeld, Richards starred in his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show, which lasted less than one full season.
When Seinfeld ended in 1998, Richards returned to stand-up comedy. He incited media furor while performing at the Laugh Factory comedy club in late 2006 after a cell phone video was published of him launching into an expletive-laced racial tirade after earlier interruptions from a group of late-arriving audience members. Subsequently due to significant media coverage of the event he announced his retirement from stand-up early in 2007. He appeared as himself in the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2009, acting alongside his fellow cast members for the first time since Seinfeld’s finale, as well as lampooning his incident at the Laugh Factory. In 2013, Richards returned to television when he played the role of Frank in the sitcom Kirstie.