Kevin James

For other people named Kevin James, see Kevin James (disambiguation).
Kevin James

James on February 1, 2011
Born Kevin George Knipfing
(1965-04-26) April 26, 1965
Mineola, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Steffiana de la Cruz (m. 2004)
Children 4

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 lead roles in the comedy films Hitch (2005), Barnyard (2006), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Zookeeper (2011), Here Comes the Boom (2012), Grown Ups 2 (2013), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) 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. He was raised Catholic, and stated in 2012 that he is involved in his faith.[6]

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.[7] 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][8]


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. They live with his father-in-law, Arthur (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 in 2006.[9]

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 on the set of Paul Blart: Mall Cop: Burlington Mall, Burlington, Massachusetts, 2008

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,[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 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.[12] In 2015, James starred in the movie Pixels.

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.[13]

Personal life

In 2004, James married actress Steffiana de la Cruz in California.[14] 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).[15]

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.

James is known for being a big sports fan, particularly of the New York Knicks, New York Jets, New York Mets, and New York Islanders, as well as the UFC. James attended high school with former professional wrestler Mick Foley. Both wrestled in high school. James was varsity, while Foley was JV.


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
2008 You Don't Mess with the Zohan Hacky Sack Tournament Celebrity Judge Uncredited
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 Lead role
2017 Sandy Wexler TBA
TBA 44[17] Joey Williams Lead role
Year Title Role Notes
Everybody Loves Raymond Kevin Daniels / Doug Heffernan 8 episodes (1996, 1998–99)
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; 22 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 [18]
Worst Screen Couple[A]
2013 Grown Ups 2 Worst Screen Combo[B] Nominated [19]
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Worst Actor Nominated [20]
Worst Picture
Worst Screenplay
Pixels Worst Supporting Actor Nominated

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 [21]

Teen Choice Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result Ref(s)
2005 Hitch Choice Movie: Dance Scene[C] Nominated [22]
Choice Movie: Liplock[C]
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated [23]



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


  1. 1 2 3 "Kevin James Biography".
  2. 1 2 3 4 Konig, Susan (November 14, 1999). "L.I.'s Biggest Export? Try Standup Comedy". The New York Times. Mr. James was born in Mineola, but his family soon moved to Stony Brook college, where he graduated from Ward Melville High School.
  3. "Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  4. "Kevin James: "Bleib dir treu"". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  5. "Kevin James Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
  6. Mark Pattison (October 9, 2012). "Comic actor Kevin James wants to 'glorify God in every way'". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  7. WENN. "Kevin James reunited with high school wrestling pal Mick Foley on TV". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  8. "Search Results - Entertainment". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  9. "Kevin James Emmy Nominated". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  10. "Critics' reviews for Paul Blart:Mall Cop".
  11. "Critics' reviews for Grown Ups".
  12. "MMA-Themed Movie 'Here Comes the Boom' Starring Kevin James Releases New Trailer". Bleacher Report. June 27, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  13. "Kevin James, Gary Valentine Get Reckless on 'Dusty Peacock'". July 17, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
  14. Bacardi, Francesca (November 20, 2014). "Kevin James Expecting Baby No. 4 With Wife Steffiana de la Cruz!". E! Online. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  15. "Kevin James Welcomes Son Kannon Valentine – Moms & Babies". December 13, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  16. Ramin Setoodeh. "Netflix Buys Kevin James' 'True Memoirs of an International Assassin' - Variety". Variety. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  17. "44 Movie: Kevin James to Headline -". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  18. "28th Annual Golden Raspberry (Razzie©) Award "Winners"". Golden Raspberry Awards.
  19. "34th RAZZIE® "Winners": Everybody Gets Something ...Except Adam Sandler!". Golden Raspberry Awards.
  21. "58th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". Primetime Emmy Award.
  22. "Teen Choice Awards (2005)". Internet Movie Database.
  23. "Teen Choice Awards (2015)". Internet Movie Database.
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