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Kevin George Knipfing (b. April 26, 1965), better known by his stage name Kevin James, is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer.

He is widely known for playing Doug Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens. James is also known for his lead roles in the comedy films I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryPaul Blart: Mall CopGrown Ups, and Zookeeper. He also starred in 2005 romantic comedy film Hitch alongsideWill Smith. James was the original voice of Otis in Barnyard, but for the rest of the series, Chris Hardwick was filled in to replace James (first in Back at the Barnyard).

He hosted the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, on March 27, 2010.

Early life

James was born Kevin George Knipfing in Mineola, New York.[1][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.[2][3] He has German ancestry.[4] James has two siblings, Gary Joseph Knipfing, known as Gary Valentine, also a comedian, and Leslie Knipfing;[5] Leslie works for James and helped raise money through charity events forretinitis pigmentosa, with which she is afflicted. James was raised Catholic, and stated in 2012 that he is "involved" in his faith.[6] He grew up in the "S-Section" of Stony Brook, New York, and graduated from Ward Melville High School in 1983,[7] where he was on the football and wrestling teams. One of his wrestling teammates, Mick Foley, eventually became a professional wrestler. James was a student at, but did not graduate from, the State University of New York at Cortland, where he was a member of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity.


James began doing stand-up comedy in 1989, making his debut at the East Side Comedy Club in Long IslandNew York managed by Richie Minervini.[7] He gained popularity through numerous appearances on various talk shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay LenoLate Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan O'BrienDennis Miller LiveThe Late Late ShowThe Rosie O'Donnell ShowThe Ellen DeGeneres Show and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. James was #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. 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 appeared on TV 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 he 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 a middle-class delivery man, Doug, who worked for a company known as IPS and was married to Carrie (Leah Remini). They lived with his father-in-law, played by Jerry Stiller. For his work on the eighth season, James was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series,[8] in 2006.

In 2007, he was the grand marshal, for saying the most famous line in auto racing "Gentlemen, start your engines" for NASCAR racing in the 2007 Pepsi 400. He did it again in June 2010 with actor/buddy Adam Sandler to promote Grown Ups as well as 2012 at the fall Talladega race.


James made his film debut in the 2005 romantic comedyHitch, 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. In 2007, James co-starred opposite Adam Sandler in the widely scorned[9] comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and also made a cameo in Sandler's 2008 filmYou Don't Mess with the Zohan. James' 2009 comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, where he patrolled the West Orange Pavilion Mall on a Segway PT, opened as the #1 film in North America with a weekend gross of $39 million, despite overwhelmingly negative reviews,[10] 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.[11] In 2011, he had a lead role opposite Vince Vaughn in the comedy/Drama, The Dilemma, he also had the leading role in the movie, Zookeeper, which he wrote and produced. In 2012, James had the leading role in the mixed martial arts comedy film Here Comes the Boom.[12]


A web series titled Dusty Peacock produced by James and starring his brother Gary Valentine began streaming on Crackle in July 2009.[13]

Award shows

James hosted the 2010 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on March 27, 2010 on Nick. He also 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.

Personal life

On June 19, 2004, James married actress Steffiana de la Cruz.[14] Their first child, daughter Sienna-Marie, was born 2005. Their second daughter, Shea Joelle, was born 2007, she was named after the ballpark Shea Stadium.[15] They welcomed their first son and third child, Kannon Valentine, 2011.[16] James is the younger brother of comedian Gary Valentine (born Gary Knipfing), who played Doug's cousin Danny Heffernan on King of Queens.

He is a close friend of retired MMA fighter Bas Rutten, and trains with him at his school in Thousand Oaks, California.

Kevin James is also known for being a big sports fan, and is particularly a fan of the New York KnicksNew York Jets, and the New York Mets, as well as the UFC.

James, a Catholic, appeared on EWTN's World Over in 2012.[17]


Year Title Role Notes
1994 MTV SandBlast Himself - Announcer 2 seasons; 1994–96
1996 Everybody Loves Raymond Kevin 6 episodes; 1996–98
1998–99 Everybody Loves Raymond Doug Heffernan *"The Lone Barone"

  • "Ray Home Alone"
1998–2007 The King of Queens Doug Heffernan Lead Role

Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

1999 Becker Doug Heffernan
1999 Martial Law Dallas Hampton
2001 Arli$$ Kevin
2002 Pinocchio Mangiafuoco Voice: English version
2004 50 First Dates Fireman Cameo
2005 Hitch Albert Brennaman Co-star

Nominated - Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Dance Scene Shared with Will Smith Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock Shared with Will Smith

2006 Monster House Officer Landers Voice/motion capture
2006 Grilled Dave
2006 Barnyard Otis Voice
2006 The Emperor's New School The Royal Record Keeper Television show voice role
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Larry Valentine Co-star

Nominated - Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor Nominated - Razzie Award for Worst Screen CoupleShared with Adam Sandler and Jessica Biel

2007 Elmo's Christmas Countdown Santa Claus
2008 You Don't Mess With The Zohan Himself
2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Paul Blart Lead role, writer and producer
2010 2010 Kids' Choice Awards Himself Host
2010 Grown Ups Eric Lamonsoff
2011 2011 Kids' Choice Awards Himself Nominated for Arm Fart Hall Of Fame
2011 The Dilemma Nick Co-star
2011 Zookeeper Griffin Keyes Lead role, writer and producer
2012 Here Comes the Boom Scott Voss Co-Writer
2012 Hotel Transylvania Frank Voice
2013 Grown Ups 2 Eric Lamonsoff Filming