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

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

“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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in