An Actual George Costanza Sued NBC’s ‘Seinfeld’ For ‘Copying His Likeness’
NBC’s Seinfeld is special for a lot of reasons. However, what makes it stand out above all the rest is its characters. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David started the show with the idea that they would mimic themselves and make a show around it. That is why its characters look and feel so real. However, that may have caused the NBC original some inconvenience as well. Because some viewers literally recognized themselves in those characters. This one time, an actual George Costanza sued NBC for copying his likeness!
Originally, the idea of Seinfeld came from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld sitting in a Korean deli and making fun of whoever they saw. And that’s how one of the most iconic TV shows was born. Jerry played himself in the show, whereas Larry David got Jason Alexander to portray him, with the famous character named ‘George Costanza’. Jerry Seinfeld recalled how the idea came into being:
“[David] said, ‘You should do a show like this.’ I go, ‘Yeah, that would be fun. Let’s do a show like this. Two comedians. Nothing to do. Walking in and out of places in New York. Talking about stuff.’ That was it.”
However, while making George Costanza, they may have accidentally copied a real-life person. And he was also a Costanza!
The real-life George Costanza!
Jerry Seinfeld attended college with a guy named Michael Costanza in Queens College in the 70s. And when Michael saw the early episodes of the sitcom, he immediately thought that George Costanza was based on him! And so, he sued the creators at NBC for $100 million! The real-life Costanza claimed:
“George is bald. I am bald. George is stocky. I am stocky. George and I both went to Queens College with Jerry. George’s high-school teacher nicknamed him ‘Can’t stand ya.’ So did mine. George had a thing about bathrooms and parking spaces. So do I.”
Moreover, Michael Costanza, who was a Long Island-based real estate agent also claimed that the sitcom was ruining his life. And so, he wanted compensation for the pain and suffering he went through because of George Costanza. But, that’s not how things worked out.
He lost the lawsuit
Despite the compelling evidence presented that George Costanza copied his liking, Michael eventually lost the lawsuit. The evidence presented was not enough for him to win $100 million from NBC. Instead, NBC made the case that it was Larry David that the character was made on. And that any similarity between Michael and George was purely coincidental.
However, the misery was not over for Michael Costanza just yet. This is because he had to pay $2,500 for the lawsuit. And that did not bother Jerry Seinfeld at all, as the comedian said:
“The universe would be out of kilter if someone named Costanza won anything.”