‘Seinfeld’: Jerry Seinfeld Shot Down This Longstanding George Costanza Casting Rumor

by Joe Rutland

Jerry Seinfeld put together a whale of a cast for his sitcom Seinfeld that did include Jason Alexander as George Costanza. Over the years, names have been shared of others who were up for the role of Jerry’s sidekick. People like Chris Rock and Danny DeVito reportedly either auditioned or were considered. They, of course, did not get the job.

But another longstanding rumor about this has been flying around for years. It would involve someone that you saw on TV a whole lot, too. Need another guess? Well, this man played a lot of music late at night. The name David Letterman might mean something here. Still don’t know? OK. The person who was rumored to have been thought about for the George role is Paul Shaffer, longtime bandleader for Letterman’s late-night shows on NBC and CBS.

Paul Shaffer Was Rumored to Be Up For George Role on ‘Seinfeld’

“I had no assistant or anybody to return calls for me and I said, ‘This will never amount to anything,'” Shaffer said in one interview with People TV. “[I] never even called him back,” he said in a Foundations Interview. “Can you imagine that? Then I wondered why he was a little bit cold the next time I saw him.” Seinfeld, though, adamantly said in a 2017 interview with Howard Stern that Shaffer wasn’t even considered. “Wrong … Never … I don’t know how that got started,” he said. “Not true.”

It’s so interesting that Shaffer would continue with the ruse if there was no truth at all to it. Seinfeld always speaks highly of Alexander, Michael Richards, and Julia-Louis Dreyfus, his other Seinfeld castmates. The NBC classic sitcom ran for nine seasons and made all of them household names. Richards played Cosmo Kramer while Dreyfus was Elaine Benes. But a lot of other characters were notable, too. Remember when George was pitted against Lloyd Braun while doing sales calls for his father, Frank Costanza? You know that episode. It’s where Frank cannot stop saying, “Serenity now.” There are many times in life in which we, too, like to use Frank’s statement.

But who played Frank? None other than comedy legend Jerry Stiller. Along with his wife Anne Meara, the comedy team of Stiller and Meara would make multiple appearances on the classic TV show The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS. Stiller also would go on and play Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens. Yet Stiller worked so well with Estelle Harris, who played George’s mother Estelle. Barney Martin and Liz Sheridan played Seinfeld’s parents there. Phil Morris plays lawyer Jackie Chiles. His father Greg Morris starred in the TV version of Mission: Impossible.