‘Seinfeld’: Jerry Stiller Said the Costanzas Were a ‘Jewish Family in the Witness Protection Program’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza

Comedian and longstanding Seinfeld actor Jerry Stiller admitted he by no means fairly understood the true heritage of his character, Frank Costanza on the collection.

Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza
Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza |Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal by way of Getty Images by way of Getty Images

Stiller revealed years after the collection ended he nonetheless by no means got here to a strong conclusion if the Costanza household have been Italian or Jewish as a result of he was thrown off by the title, but in addition the traditions.

“It was never really clear if the Costanzas were Jewish or Italian or what they were. Jason [Alexander, who played George], Estelle [Harris, who played Estelle Costanza] and I were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed,” he mentioned throughout an look in 2018, Page Six reviews.

Stiller ended the collection with unanswered questions

Since Stiller by no means reconciled your entire household backstory he got here up together with his personal reasoning. “When people asked me about this, I would simply say it was because we were a Jewish family in the witness protection program,” he joked on the 2018 occasion look. Adding, “What about the Costanzas’ living room? What are we, chopped liver? Oy, serenity now!”

His character additionally had various signature moments that (once more) would lead the viewer down a myriad of heritage roads. For occasion, Elaine Benes requested him about being born in Italy. “Yeah, that’s why I could never become president,” Costanza replied. “That’s also why, from an early age, I never had any interest in politics. I refuse to vote. THEY DON’T WANT ME, I DON’T WANT THEM.”

Also, Costanza famously “founded” the anti-holiday Festivus. He informed his son, George Costanza, “George, festivus is your heritage!”

‘Festivus for the rest of us’

Costanza’s bombastic character was behind the vacation “Festivus,” born out of his outrage of the commercialization of Christmas. The vacation was delivered to mild throughout “The Strike” episode, Time recounts. “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son,” Costanza explains to Cosmo Kramer. “I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.” 

The different approach resulted in Festivus “for the rest of us.” Celebrated on December 23, the concept was to “to get a leg up on Christmas.” Annoyed with the mass consumerism of the tree and presents, Costanza changed the Christmas tree with a easy metallic pole.

In lieu of spending cash on presents, households would as a substitute air their grievances after which later (as a substitute of a pleasant household meal) would wish to show feats of energy, possible wrestling.

The vacation, which was the brainchild of Seinfeld author Dan O’Keefe, ended up truly being celebrated by followers and continues to be honored, years after the collection ended. O’Keefe joke to The New York Times about by accident inventing a cult.

Stiller died at age 92

Stiller died at age 92, in response to son and actor Ben Stiller. “I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad,” Stiller tweeted on May 11.

Condolences poured in from various celebrities and followers. Many remembered his work, however most recalled his kindness.

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