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Michael Anthony Richards is Born

Today in Masonic History Michael Anthony Richards is born in 1949.

Michael Anthony Richards is an American actor.

Richards was born on July 24th, 1949 in Culver City, California. At the age of two his father was killed in a car accident. He graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in Thousand Oaks, California. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1970. He trained as a medic and was stationed in West Germany. After leaving the Army he used his GI Bill benefits to enroll in the California Institute of the Arts. He transfered to Evergreen State College where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama.

Richards first television break came in 1979 when he appeared in Billy Crystal's first cable TV special. The following year he appeared on the show Fridays, an attempt by ABC to recreate the success of Saturday Night Live. It was on the show Fridays that met Larry David. It was on the show that a famous incident occurred with guest Andy Kaufman. Kaufman refused to read the lines as written prompting Richards to bring the cue cards to Kaufman to show him the lines. Kaufman proceeded to throw a drink in Richards face and a melee ensued. Later Richards claimed to be in on the joke.

In 1989, Richards appeared in the "Weird Al" Yankovic film UHF. That same year he was cast on the series Seinfeld, written and created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Richards played the part of Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld's eccentric neighbor. Although the show started slow by the end of it's nine year run, Seinfeld ended at Number 1 on the Nielsen ratings. It also saw Richards winning the most Emmys of his fellow cast mates, winning the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1993, 1994 and 1997.

In 2000, Richards attempted to create his own show called The Michael Richards Show. Initially the show was about a bumbling detective played by Richards. When the initial pilot did not test well with audiences it was retooled and set in an office. The show only ran for a couple of episodes.

In 2006, Richards had a very public incident which occurred at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood, California. When a group of individuals entered the bar while Richards was doing his stand-up and according to Richards and one of the members of the group, were "loud", Richards began throwing insults, largely racially charged, at the group. Later in his act, one of the members of the group began to heckle Richards and Richards let fly with a torrent of racial slurs directed at the individuals. The incident was filmed and was released on to the Internet. On a variety of shows, including the Late Show with Davide Letterman (he called in while his former cast mate, Jerry Seinfeld was a live guest on the show), and on Jesse Jackson's syndicated talk show. Although some forgave Richards for his outburst, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the unofficial spokesperson for the group refused to forgive him. Sharpton said he that Richards apologized only for the camera.

The 2006 incident continued to be an issue for Richards even as recently as 2012. The incident has been parodied by several shows including Family Guy and Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm where Richards appeared as himself poking fun at the incident.

Richards is a member of Riviera Masonic Lodge No. 780 in Pacific Palisades, California. He is also a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction where he has received the Knights Commander of the Court of Honor award.