‘Seinfeld’: Here’s Who Almost Played Elaine

by Maggie Schneider

“Seinfeld” fans know and love Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, but see who else was considered for the role.

Elaine Benes is one of America’s most beloved female characters. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the actress behind the “Seinfeld” role, and a successful one at that. The Primetime Emmy’s winner earned multiple awards and nominations for her portrayal of Elaine .

While “Seinfeld” fans can’t imagine the show without her, there was a time when other actresses were auditioning for the part. It was important for producers to find the right Elaine, and so they looked into many different options. Here’s the extensive list of women who were considered for the role!

At least six famous actresses auditioned for the part. Each of them has an impressive background in comedy and television. Rosie O’Donnell, Patricia Heaton, Jessica Lundy, Mariska Hargitay, Megan Mullally, and Amy Yasbeck were all in the running to be Elaine.

The Women In The Running

Today, these women are all still big names in the acting world. Most of them had already made a name for themselves before “Seinfeld.” Megan Mullally was rising as a star on “Will & Grace.” Patricia Heaton was already the female lead of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which was on television for almost a decade. Amy Yasbeck, continued her role as Casey Chappel Davenport on the 1994 sitcom “Wings.”

After auditioning for “Seinfeld,” Mariska Hargitay became Olivia Benson in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” The actress has been on the CBS drama since 1999, and it remains her most well-known role.

Rosie O’Donnell also found more success later in her career. The comedian’s “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” grew immensely in popularity after its first episode aired in 1996. She went on to voice roles in “Tarzan” and “The Flinstones,” as well as becoming a co-host on “The View.”

None of these six actresses under consideration surprise me. They are all talented and hilarious in their own right.

‘Seinfeld’ Guest Appearances

While these six actresses did not make the cut, the producers of the show invited them back for some hilarious guest appearances. Megan Mullally and Jessica Lundy later appeared on the show as Jerry and George’s love interests. Mariska Hargitay guest-starred as a woman named Melissa. She is one of the actresses Elaine considers for the “Jerry show-within-a-show.”

It is fun for fans to see such talented actresses appear in the “Seinfeld” world. While they would have all made Elaine a great character, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the best match for the part. Funnily enough, Dreyfus finds her famous character to be a little crazy.

“She’s nuts. The woman’s nuts,” she says. If you hear a man say he’s looking for an Elaine-type woman, run in the opposite direction of that man.”