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James on February 1, 2011
Kevin James
Background information
Birthname Kevin George Knipfing
Born April 26, 1965 (1965-04-26) (age 55)
Birthplace Mineola, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Alternate names
Occupation(s) Actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer
Years active
Spouse(s) Steffiana de la Cruz (m. 2004)
Children 4
Residence Los Angeles, California

Kevin George Knipfing (born April 26, 1965[1]), known professionally by his stage name Kevin James, is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for playing Doug Heffernan on the hit CBS sitcom The King of Queens (1998–2007). He is also known for his roles in comedy films including Hitch (2005), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Zookeeper (2011), Here Comes the Boom (2012), and Pixels (2015).

Early life

Kevin James was born Kevin George Knipfing in Mineola, New York,[1] and was raised from a young age in Stony Brook, both on Long Island.[2] He is the second son of Janet, a homemaker who also worked in a chiropractor's office, and Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr., who owned an insurance agency.[1][3] He is of German descent.[4] He has a brother, Gary Joseph Knipfing, known as Gary Valentine, who is also a comedian and actor, and one sister, Leslie Knipfing.[5] Leslie works for James and helped raise money through charity events for retinitis pigmentosa, with which she is afflicted.

James graduated from Ward Melville High School.[2] While there, he reached the number one spot on the wrestling team, just ahead of friend and WWE star Mick Foley. Both wrestled at 145 lb weight class. A season-ending back injury to James resulted in Foley taking over the first string position.[6] James, as well as Foley, went on to study at the State University of New York at Cortland, where he played halfback on the varsity football team until another back injury permanently ended his sporting hopes.[2][7]


James began doing stand-up comedy in 1989, making his debut at the East Side Comedy Club on Long Island, managed by Richie Minervini.[2] He gained popularity through numerous appearances on various talk shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Dennis Miller Live, The Late Late Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. James was listed at #89 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians. James has also done his stand-up routine on Just for Laughs, an annual comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec. Later he was on commercials for Mazzio's Italian Eatery. In 2001, James did his own stand-up special called Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff. He has also appeared as a musical guest on Just for Laughs.


James' first television job was in 1991 on The New Candid Camera, where he used his comedy timing and improvisation skills playing the actor that pulled the practical jokes on unsuspecting people. James appeared on television as the announcer for the MTV sports game show SandBlast from 1994 to 1996. James later moved to Los Angeles and befriended Ray Romano, and later guest-starred on a few episodes of Romano's hit CBS sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond. These appearances led to the development of his own sitcom, The King of Queens, which ran on the same network from September 21, 1998, to May 14, 2007. James played the lead as content working class parcel delivery man Doug Heffernan, whose appeal is somewhat of the warm-hearted hijinxing buffoon type, who works for a company known as IPS and is married to Carrie (Leah Remini), a secretary at a Manhattan law firm who is less content with working-class life in Queens as she desires an upper-middle class lifestyle. His father-in-law, Arthur (Jerry Stiller) lives with them. For his work on the eighth season, James was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006.[8]

James hosted the 2010 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on March 27, 2010, and was a nominee into the Arm Fart Hall of Fames of the next year's show as Kevin "Not-Quite-As-Good-As-Me" James; but lost to Josh Duhamel.

James stars in the sitcom Kevin Can Wait, which premiered on September 19, 2016.



James made his film debut in the 2005 romantic comedy Hitch, alongside Will Smith and Eva Mendes. In 2006, he co-starred with his Everybody Loves Raymond colleague Ray Romano in the comedy Grilled, and provided voice work in the animated films Monster House and Barnyard. James co-starred with Adam Sandler in the comedies I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), and Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). In the latter film, his character patrolled the fictional West Orange Pavilion Mall, filmed at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts, on a Segway PT. The film opened as the #1 film in North America with a weekend gross of $39 million, despite overwhelmingly negative reviews,[9] and eventually grossed $219 million from ticket and home video sales. More recently, James appeared in Grown Ups, which co-starred numerous Saturday Night Live alumni and was even more universally panned, yet was highly successful at the box office.[10] In 2011, he had a lead role with Vince Vaughn in the comedy-drama, The Dilemma, and in Zookeeper, which he wrote and produced. In 2012, James had the lead role in the mixed martial arts comedy film Here Comes the Boom.[11] In 2015, James starred in the movie Pixels. In 2016, James had the lead role for the Netflix Original: True Memoirs of an International Assassin.

Other work

In 2007, he was the grand marshal for the Pepsi 400, saying "Gentlemen, start your engines". He did it again in June 2010 with friend and fellow actor Adam Sandler to promote Grown Ups, in 2012 at the fall Talladega race to promote Here Comes the Boom and in July 2013 at the Coke-Zero 400 with co-stars Adam Sandler and Shaquille O'Neal.

A web series titled Dusty Peacock produced by James and starring his brother Gary Valentine began streaming on Crackle in July 2009.[12]

Personal life

In 2004, James married actress Steffiana de la Cruz in California.[13] They have four children: daughters Sienna-Marie (b. 2005), Shea Joelle (b. 2007), son Kannon Valentine (b. 2011), and another daughter Sistine Sabella (b. 2015).[14]

James is the younger brother of comedian Gary Valentine (born Gary Knipfing), who played Doug's cousin Danny Heffernan on King of Queens.

James was raised as a Catholic and stated in 2012 that he is involved in his faith.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Pinocchio Mangiafuoco Voice: English version
2004 50 First Dates Fireman Cameo
2005 Hitch Albert Brennaman Co-star
2006 Monster House Officer Landers Voice
Grilled Dave
Barnyard Otis the Cow Voice
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Larry Valentine Co-star
2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Paul Blart Lead role, writer, and producer
2010 Grown Ups Eric Lamonsoff
2011 The Dilemma Nick Brannen Co-star
Zookeeper Griffin Keyes Lead role, writer, and producer
2012 Hotel Transylvania Frank Voice
Here Comes the Boom Scott Voss Lead role, writer, and producer
2013 Grown Ups 2 Eric Lamonsoff
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Paul Blart Lead role, writer, and producer
Little Boy Dr. Fox
Pixels William Cooper Co-star
Hotel Transylvania 2 Frank Voice
2016 True Memoirs of an International Assassin[16] Sam Larson Netflix movie. Lead role
2017 Sandy Wexler[17] Netflix movie


Year Title Role Notes
Everybody Loves Raymond Kevin Daniels / Doug Heffernan 8 episodes
1998–2007 The King of Queens Doug Heffernan Lead role; 207 episodes
1998 Cosby Episode: "Judgment Day"
1999 Becker Episode: "Drive, They Said"
Martial Law Dallas Hampton Episode: "Nitro Man"
2001 Arli$$ Kevin Episode: "Like No Business I Know"
2007 Elmo's Christmas Countdown Santa Claus
2015 Liv & Maddie Mr. Clodfelter Episode: "Cook-a-Rooney"
2016—present Kevin Can Wait Kevin Gable Lead role; 24 episodes

Awards and nominations

Golden Raspberry Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result Ref(s)
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Worst Supporting Actor Nominated [1]
Worst Screen Couple[A]
2013 Grown Ups 2 Worst Screen Combo[B] Nominated [2]
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Worst Actor Nominated [3]
Worst Picture
Worst Screenplay
Pixels Worst Supporting Actor Nominated

People's Choice Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result Ref(s)
2017 Kevin Can Wait Favorite Actor in a New TV Series Nominated [1]

Primetime Emmy Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result Ref(s)
2006 The King of Queens (Episode: "Pole Lox") Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated [1]

Teen Choice Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result Ref(s)
2005 Hitch Choice Movie: Dance Scene[C] Nominated [1]
Choice Movie: Liplock[C]
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated [2]



A ^ Shared with Adam Sandler and Jessica Biel.
B ^ Shared with the entire cast.
C ^ Shared with Will Smith.


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