Jason Alexander Told Howard Stern The Real Reason Why ‘Seinfeld’ Killed Off George Costanza’s Fiancee Susan
The unexpected and campy death of Susan Ross is perhaps the darkest thing Seinfeld ever did. She, of course, was George Costanza’s wealthy fiance who met her unfortunate demise after licking cut-rate envelopes. Cheapness, you see, can be lethal.
Since the death episode, there have been rumors floating around that she was killed off because Jason Alexander didn’t like working with Heidi Swedberg, the actress who played Susan. The theory was explored in Warren Littlefield’s terrific Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV, which chronicles NBC’s powerhouse 1990s comedy lineup.
Alexander finally addressed the rumors yesterday during his interview with Howard Stern and basically confirmed, yup, that’s what happened.
“The actress is this wonderful girl,” Alexander says in the interview that aired on the “Howard Stern Show” Thursday. “I love her. She’s a terrific girl.”
So what was the problem? Turns out it’s a simple matter of comedic instincts.
“I couldn’t figure out how to play off of her,” the actor continued. “Her instincts for doing a scene, where the comedy was, and mine, were always misfiring. She would do something, and I would go, ‘OK, I see what she’s going to do, I’ll adjust to her.’ And then it would change.”
Unfortunately, Alexander’s coworkers didn’t quite see what was going on.
“I had done three episodes with her and Larry [David] calls me up at the beginning of the season, and says, ‘Good news, I got a great arc for you this season.’ I said, ‘Oh that’s great, who do I get engaged to?’ He said, ‘Susan.’ I went, ‘Oh great, who’s going to play George?”
Alexander said Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss didn’t understand just how challenging working with Swedberg was until they had to do scenes with her.
“You know what? It’s f—ing impossible!” Alexander quotes Seinfeld and Dreyfus as having said after finally having to work with Swedberg.
Then, it was Dreyfus who gave Larry David a way to end the season by saying, “Don’t you wanna just kill her?”
Damn. That’s some cold-hearted show business stuff right there.
If you’re hearing this story for the first time, I promise you it will change the way you view Susan reruns. Especially the one where she becomes close with Elaine. Great acting in retrospect.
[H/T: NBC New York]