Seinfeld killed off Susan because actress was 'impossible' to work with, Jason Alexander says

Alexander confirmed rumours that a lack of chemistry between the actress playing Susan and the rest of the cast resulted in a plan to kill her off

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The undisguised glee with which George Costanza greeted news of his fiancee’s untimely demise from licking toxic wedding invitations was one of Seinfeld’s most hilariously cruel moments.

Now the actor Jason Alexander has revealed that the classic sitcom’s writers despatched his intended because he found playing scenes with actress Heidi Swedberg, “f***ing impossible.”

Alexander, who played George, has confirmed rumours that a lack of chemistry between the actress playing Susan and the rest of the cast, resulted in a plan, hatched by Seinfeld regular Julia Louis-Dreyfus, to kill her off.


“I couldn't figure out how to play off of her,” Alexander told the Howard Stern Show. “Her instincts for doing a scene, where the comedy was, and mine were always misfiring. And she would do something, and I would go, ‘OK, I see what she's going to do — I’m going to adjust to her.’ And I’d adjust, and then it would change.”


Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry) and Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) came to the same conclusion after they shared a number of scenes with Swedberg. “They go, 'You know what? It’s f***ing impossible. It’s impossible’,” said Alexander, who stressed that he had nothing against Swedberg personally who was a “terrific girl.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (LANDOV/Press Association Images)

“And Julia actually said, ‘Don't you want to just kill her?’ And Larry went, ‘Ka-bang!” With a reluctant George and Susan still headed for the altar, Seinfeld’s writers came up with the fiendish solution that the character would die from licking too many cheap, poisonous envelopes.

A liberated Costanza responded to Susan’s death in typically self-centred style. “I’ve got the funeral tomorrow, but my weekend is pretty wide open,” he told one possible new date. However the actor said: “Every time I tell this story I cringe because Heidi is the sweetest.”

Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld as himself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes and Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer

Swedberg proved less toxic to other American shows and went on to enjoy roles in Roswell, Gilmore Girls and Bones, following her 1997 departure from Seinfeld.

She now plays and teaches the ukulele, leading her own Sukey Jump Band, which plays regular shows in New Mexico and Los Angeles.

Swedberg was on a hiding to nothing playing Susan, who was originally supposed to have one line but appeared during a number of Seinfeld seasons, Alexander admitted.

Jerry Seinfeld as himself and Jason Alexander as George Costanza

“The thing was what Heidi brought to the character was that we could do the most horrible things to her and the audience was still on my side,” he said. “She wasn’t playing a bitchy character or anything, they knew it wasn’t a good fit.” Working opposite Swedberg was like “like punching into jello”.

Alexander spoke to Stern’s satellite radio show as the sixth season of Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, launched on the Crackle website with an episode reuniting the comedian with Veep star Louis-Dreyfus.