If we are to do a list of popular comedians who are most recognized around the globe, Kevin James would likely occupy a top spot. He is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, voice actor, and producer. He rose to fame after playing the role of Doug Heffernan on the television drama sitcom, The King of Queens. Ever since that role, he has appeared in a lot more television drama series, films, and comedy shows.
Over the course of his acting career, James has been recognized with several award nominations but is yet to nab one. He has also hosted a few award shows and has followed up his contributions to the entertainment industry by working as a writer and producer. Today, he is regarded among the richest comedians in the United States.
Kevin James Has Amassed Huge Wealth From Several Sources
Kevin James has made a whopping sum of money from his acting career. Most of his movies have sold massively around the globe such as Hitch, Zookeeper, Pixels, Hotel Transylvania film series, Grown Ups, and Grown Ups 2. While starring on The King of Queens, the well-known actor earned $300,000 per episode during the middle season and then pocketed $400,000 per episode for the final seasons of the TV series.
He has also bolstered his earnings by hosting a lot of comedy shows, as well as going on many comedy tours. He is regarded as one of the highest-paid comedians in the world with an estimated net worth of $100 million.
He Augments His Earnings From His Works As a Writer And Producer
James has additionally earned from his role as a writer and producer. He earns massively on syndication deals for his comedy series, The King of Queens, with his earning estimated at over $49 million. Thanks to his role as the creator and executive producer of the show, which entitles him to a percentage of the TV series’ backend profits.
More so, he has worked as the writer and producer of several commercially successful films including Zookeeper, Here Comes the Boom, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and it’s sequel, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. He further works as the producer of a web series titled Dusty Peacock which started streaming on Crackle since July 2009.
The Comedian Started His Career In Comedy Upon Graduation From College
He was named Kevin George Knipfing upon his birth on the 26th of April 1965 in Mineola, New York. However, he moved alongside his family to Stony Brook, Long Island, New York City. There, he had his high school education at Ward Melville High School before proceeding to the State University of New York, Cortland to further his studies.
Upon graduation, Kevin began his career working as a standup comedian for a comedy club managed by Richie Minervini called East Side Club in 1989. He gave that job his all and with time, he began to appear on different comedy shows like Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Dennis Miller Live, and The Ellen DeGeneres. It was with all these shows that he rose to prominence.
With the rise in his career, he was listed by Comedy Central as one of the greatest standup comedians. He further performed at Montreal’s annual comedy festival, Just for Laughs before releasing his comedy special titled Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff in the year 2001. After several years, the Primetime Emmy nominee dropped another comedy special in 2018, but this time on Netflix and it was titled Kevin James: Never Don’t Give Up.
He Took To The Path Of Acting In The Early 1990s
Kevin James ventured into television shows starting off with The New Candid Camera in 1991. He later appeared on SandBlast, working as the announcer of the game show on MTV from 1994 to 1996. He further appeared in 8 episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond (1996, 1998-99). In 1998, Kevin James rose to prominence in the movie industry as he premiered his own sitcom on CBS titled The King of Queens, which ran on the network through 2007. The drama sitcom got him a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006.
Later in 2010, Kevin James played as a host for Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and bagged a nomination in the Arm Fart Hall of Fames in the next year’s show as Not-Quite-As-Good-As-Me. The versatile actor then featured in another TV show he developed, titled Kevin Can Wait, from 2016-18. It premiered on CBS in September 2016 and was canceled by the network at the end of its second season. In 2017, Kevin landed a People’s Choice Awards nomination for Favorite Actor in a New TV Series for his role in the aforementioned series.
A Look At His Most Prominent Works
While Kevin attained fame for his role in The King of Queens, it was in the latter part of 2005 that he became immensely popular after bagging his first movie role in Hitch. The romantic comedy movie which was a box office success earned the comic two Teen Choice Awards nominations. After that appearance, he was cast as Larry Valentine in the 2007 film, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.
The actor eventually became quite famous for his portrayal in Paul Blart: Mall Cop in the year 2009. He later starred alongside Adam Sandler in the box office hit films, Grown Ups (2010) and Grown Ups 2 (2013). In 2012, he played a critically acclaimed role as a teacher turned mixed martial arts fighter, Scott Voss in Here Comes the Boom, and three years later, Kevin James landed another Teen Choice Awards nomination for his role in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015).
His other notable acting credits include Pixels (2015), True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016), Sandy Wexler (2017), and Becky (2020). James has additionally been recognized for his voice-over role in animated movies such as Pinocchio (2002), Monster House (2006), Barnyard (2006), and Hotel Transylvania franchise (2012-present).
His Recent Works On YouTube
In November 2017, Kevin James launched a self-named YouTube Channel but wasn’t active on the social media platform until February 2020 when he revived the channel. Soon after, he began making waves on YouTube as a result of his uploads of short movies created on thin premises. They include Will Smith Got At Me, A Quarantine Birthday, Out Of Touch, Gone Fishing, Looking For My Grandma’s Bird, and What Was I Going To Say?
After a few months of becoming active on YouTube, James’ channel has gathered more than 500,000 subscribers, with a total view of over 27 million.
Kevin Was Brought Up In a Catholic Family
As per his immediate family, Kevin James was born as the second child in his family. His parents are Janet James and Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr. His dad owned an insurance company while his mom rendered her services as a healthcare practitioner who specialized in chiropractic medicine. He has an elder brother named Gary Joseph Knipfing and a younger sister Leslie Knipfing.
Kevin and his siblings were raised by their parents in the Catholic faith, as such, the actor is a practicing Catholic. He organized a retreat that was graced by some Roman Catholic priests including Father Chad Ripperger in the year 2019.
Meet His Famous Siblings
Kevin James’ older brother, Gary Joseph (popularly known as Gary Valentine) has also built a successful career as an actor and comedian. He first began his career in stand up comedy by appearing at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Afterwards, he featured in many talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Gary has performed in many comedy tours and recently made guest appearances on TV shows such as Chelsea Lately and Comics Unleashed.
He ventured into acting by featuring in The King of Queens from 1999-2007 and was subsequently cast together with his brother in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Here Comes the Boom (2012), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015), and Kevin Can Wait (2016-18). He additionally worked as the executive producer of TV series, The Bachelor Chronicles.
Kevin James’ sister, Leslie, unlike her brothers, do not have a career in show biz. She works outside the spotlight, managing the Hitch actor’s charitable events.
The Hollywood Star Is a Happily Married Man
Kevin James found love with America actress Steffiana de la Cruz. The two met on a blind date which later birthed their forever union. They took their vows on the 19th of June 2014 at the St. Edward Catholic Church, California, while their wedding reception took place at Laguna Beach’s Montage Resort. Together, they have three adorable daughters; Sienna-Marie (born on September 30th, 2005), Shea Joelle (born on June 14th, 2007), Sistine Sabella (born in January 2015), and a son; Kannon Valentine James (born on April 24th, 2011).
The couple is enjoying a flourishing married life and has worked together in a handful of acting projects. Steffiana first starred alongside her future husband in The King of Queens before working together with him in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and Kevin Can Wait.