Officially George Costanza is based on Larry David
. However, there is much speculation that George Costanza is based largely on a friend named Mike Costanza Seinfeld
met while they both attended Queens College
. If the similar last names aren't a give away, consider like the George character, Mike is short, stocky, and bald. Mike, like the George character, had a problematic high school teacher who nicknamed him "Can't stand ya". Both Costanzas have a "thing" about parking spaces and bathrooms. Mike was a hand-model at one point and so was the George character. Mike is a real estate agent
and George was a realtor in the initial seasons.
Oddly enough, Seinfeld, Larry David, and Castle Rock Entertainment
refuse to credit Mike as the inspiration for the role. However, they freely credit Seinfeld's friend Kenny Kramer
as the inspiration for the Cosmo Kramer
role. The difference is, Castle Rock paid Kenny Kramer money to let them borrow freely from his identity.
About the only bone the Seinfeld camp ever tossed Mike Costanza was he had a bit part in 1992's "The Parking Space
" episode. On another episode, the Kramer character enigmatically refers to the George character as "Mike".
It's speculated that Seinfeld believed since he and Mike had been much closer friends than his relationship with Kenny Kramer, he could borrow freely from his friend's life.
In 1998, Mike Costanza launched a lawsuit
against Seinfeld, Larry David, and NBC
. He wanted $100 million for the use of his likeness and claimed the George depiction was an invasion of his privacy. A judge eventually tossed out the suit, ruling it frivolous
. Mike and his lawyer were fined $2,500 each for wasting the court's time. The judge commented, rather waggishly, "While a show about nothing
can be successful, a lawsuit must have more substance
Many question why Mike waited nearly a decade to launch a lawsuit. It's probable that it was vexatious
after Seinfeld severed his friendship with Mike. Seinfeld notoriously tries to shield his personal life and past from the public. Shortly before the lawsuit Mike wrote a book called The Real Seinfeld: As Told by the Real Costanza
. Seinfeld felt that Mike violated his privacy in his "tell all" book. Mike had been Seinfeld's closest friend and confidant during his hard-knock days as a stand-up comedian
on the club circuit