Kalman Seinfeld was the father of Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most successful and popular comedians of all time. He was also a sign painter and a World War II veteran. He died on January 31, 1985, in Florida, at the age of 67. But what was the cause of his death? And what was his life like before he became famous as the father of a star? In this article, we will explore the life and legacy of Kalman Seinfeld, and the impact he had on his son and his career.
A Difficult Childhood and a Broken Family
Kalman Seinfeld was born on October 20, 1918, in New York City, to Hungarian Jewish immigrants. His father, Shimshon Seinfeld, had two wives, and Kalman was the youngest of four children from his first marriage. His mother, Celia, died when he was young, and his father remarried and had another child. Kalman grew up in a poor and dysfunctional family, where he received little attention and education. He did not go to school, and instead, he worked as a street vendor and a delivery boy to help his family.
Kalman Seinfeld did not have a close relationship with his father or his siblings. He later described his family as “a bunch of lunatics”. He also said that his father was “a very tough guy” who “didn’t care about anything”. He once recalled that his father never hugged him or told him that he loved him. He also said that his father never gave him any advice or guidance, and that he had to learn everything by himself.
A Career as a Sign Painter and a Military Service
Kalman Seinfeld developed a talent and a passion for sign painting, which became his main occupation. He opened his own sign-making shop, called Seinfeld Signs, in New York City. He made signs for various businesses and events, such as restaurants, bars, theaters, and political campaigns. He was proud of his work and enjoyed being creative and artistic. He also liked to make jokes and puns with his signs, which showed his sense of humor and wit.
Kalman Seinfeld also served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was stationed in Europe and fought in several battles, such as the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Rhine. He was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts. He also witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps. He later said that the war was “the worst thing that ever happened to me”.
A Late Marriage and a Happy Family
Kalman Seinfeld met his future wife, Betty Hosni, in the late 1940s. She was also a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, who had escaped from Nazi-occupied Hungary with her family. She worked as a tailor and a seamstress, making clothes for herself and others. They fell in love and got married in 1953, when they were both in their mid-thirties. They settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they raised their two children: a daughter, Carolyn, and a son, Jerry.
Kalman Seinfeld was a loving and devoted husband and father. He supported his wife and his children in their endeavors and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. He was also a fun and playful parent, who liked to make jokes and tell stories to his kids. He introduced his son, Jerry, to comedy and took him to see his favorite comedians, such as Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, and Bob Hope. He also gave him his first joke book, which inspired him to become a comedian.
A Death by Heart Attack and a Lasting Legacy
Kalman Seinfeld died on January 31, 1985, in Palm Beach County, Florida. He was 67 years old. According to some sources, his cause of death was a heart attack. He was buried at Riverside Memorial Park in Tequesta, Florida. His death was a shock and a grief for his family and friends, who remembered him as a kind, generous, and funny person.
Kalman Seinfeld left behind a lasting legacy as the father of Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most successful and popular comedians of all time. Jerry Seinfeld often paid tribute to his father and his influence on his comedy and his life. He named his production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, after a fictional town in Maine that his father invented for his stories. He also dedicated his book, Seinlanguage, to his father, writing, “To Kalman Seinfeld, who made me laugh first”.
Jerry Seinfeld also immortalized his father in his sitcom, Seinfeld, which he co-created and starred in from 1989 to 1998. He based the character of Morty Seinfeld, played by Barney Martin, on his father. He used some of his father’s traits, such as his sign-making skills, his military service, his jokes, and his catchphrases, such as “Hello!” and “You’re crazy!”. He also used some of his father’s real-life stories and experiences, such as his involvement in a condo board election, his feud with a neighbor over a Cadillac, and his invention of a beltless trench coat.
Morty Seinfeld was based on Kalman Seinfeld. Image Source: [IMDb].
Kalman Seinfeld was a remarkable man, who lived a life full of challenges, adventures, and joys. He was a sign painter, a soldier, a husband, a father, and a comedian. He was a source of inspiration and laughter for his son, Jerry Seinfeld, and for millions of fans around the world. He will always be remembered as a legend of comedy and a legend of life.