CAST AND CHARACTERS
A native of Los Angeles, Richard first became interested in acting when he took a drama class in eighth grade and continued aggressively pursuing theater opportunities throughout high school. He attended the California Institute of the Arts, eventually earning a degree in theater arts from Evergreen State College in Washington state. Upon graduation, Richards returned to California and worked at the prestigious San Diego Repertory Theatre, where he starred in several productions until relocating to Los Angeles in the late 1970s.
There, Richards combined his talent for acting with his natural sense of humor and found great success in stand-up comedy. Within a year, he landed a role in the late-night sketch comedy series "Fridays". He distinguished himself among the ensemble cast through memorable and often bizarre characters such as "Battle Boy", a demented youngster who burns toy soldiers, and the bumbling Lothario "Dick".
Following "Fridays", Richards resumed his acting study and made numerous appearances in such lauded series as "Cheers", "St. Elsewhere", "Miami Vice", "Hill Street Blues" and "Night Court". He also guest-starred on specials starring Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Jonathan Winters and Andy Kaufman, and hosted the "Montreal Comedy Special" and the Aspen Comedy Festival.
Richards made his feature film debut in the Garry Marshall comedy "Young Doctors in Love", and has also starred in Diane Keaton's critically-acclaimed "Unstrung Heroes", "Airheads", "So I Married an Axe Murderer", "Coneheads", "UHF", "Problem Child", and "Trial and Error".
During the 2000-2001 season, Richards returned to series television in "The Michael Richards Show", starring as an offbeat private investigator. That season, he also starred opposite Sally Field in a cable television adaptation of Charles Dickens, drama "David Copperfield".
With a lifelong interest in comedy, Richards decided in 1979 to pursue standup comedy. He performed nightly for nine straight months at such places as The Comedy Store and The Improvisation until Billy Crystal gave him his first "real paying job" on the "Billy Crystal Special". From there he spent the next two-and-a-half years starring in the ABC comedy, "Fridays", where he became best known for creating "Battle Boy" -- an impassioned male who took pleasure in blowing up miniature battle figures.
Richards has been seen in a cameo role in TriStar's "So I Married an Axe Murderer", starring Mike Myers. He also made an appearance in "Coneheads" with Dan Aykroyd and fellow cast member Jason Alexander, as well as the 20th Century Fox film "Airheads" starring Brendan Fraser. His other film credits include "Problem Child", UHF", "Whoops", "Apocalypse", "Transylvania 6-5000" and "Young Doctors in Love".
Other television credits include performing as a series regular in "Marblehead Manor", recurring roles in "St. Elsewhere", "Miami Vice", "Hill Street Blues", "Cheers", "Night Court", "It's A Living", "Sidekicks", "What A Country", "The Scarecrow and Mrs. King", as well as appearances in the miniseries "Fresno", "The Jonathan Winters Special", two movies-of-the-week and four pilots.