Kevin George Knipfing (born April 26, 1965), known professionally as Kevin James, is an American comedian and actor. He began his career by performing stand-up comedy at clubs on Long Island in the 1980s. He rose to prominence for his portrayal of Doug Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens (1998–2007), for which he received the nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006.

Kevin James
James in 2011
Kevin George Knipfing

(1965-04-26) April 26, 1965 (age 59)
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • screenwriter
Years active1989–present
Steffiana de la Cruz
(m. 2004)
RelativesGary Valentine (brother)

In 2004, James made his first film appearance in 50 First Dates, and the following year co-starred in Hitch with Will Smith. He went on to star in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Zookeeper (2011), Here Comes the Boom (2012), and Pixels (2015). He has also done voice work for Monster House, Barnyard (both 2006), and the first three films of the Hotel Transylvania franchise (2012–2018). He also was nominated for a People's Choice Award in 2017 for his role on the CBS sitcom Kevin Can Wait (2016–2018). James also had several dramatic roles, including The Dilemma (2011) Little Boy (2015) and Becky (2020).

Early life


Kevin George Knipfing was born in Mineola, New York, on April 26, 1965,[1] to American office worker Janet Klein and German-American insurance agency owner Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr.[1][2][3] He grew up in Stony Brook, New York.[4] He has a sister named Leslie and an older brother named Gary, the latter of whom also became a comedian and actor under the name Gary Valentine.[5] The siblings were raised Catholic. James graduated from Ward Melville High School,[6] where he reached the top position on the wrestling team, one spot above his friend and future professional wrestler Mick Foley. Both wrestled in the Heavyweight weight class. When James suffered a season-ending back injury, Foley took over the first string position.[7] Both men went on to study at the State University of New York at Cortland, where James played halfback on the varsity football team until another back injury permanently ended his sporting ambitions.[6][8]




James in 2011

James began doing stand-up comedy in 1989, making his debut at Richie Minervini's East Side Comedy Club on Long Island.[6] He also started performing comedy with a troupe at the club, during which time he adopted "James" as his stage surname in honor of his favorite school teacher.[9] 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 No. 76 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. In 2018, James released another stand-up special on Netflix called Kevin James: Never Don't Give Up. In 2024, James released his third special on Amazon Prime Video called Kevin James: Irregardless.[10]



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 practical jokes on unsuspecting people. He appeared in A&E's An Evening at the Improv in 1994.[11] 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 he 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 working class parcel delivery man Doug Heffernan who works for a company known as IPS. He is married to Carrie (Leah Remini), a sharp-tongued, ambitious secretary at a Manhattan law firm who is far less content with working-class life in Queens. Her obsessive, vindictive father, Arthur (Jerry Stiller), who is prone toward bizarre conduct, 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.[12]

James hosted the 2010 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on March 27, 2010. He was nominated to be the inaugural member of the "Arm Fart Hall of Fame" in the following year's show, with host Jack Black calling him Kevin "Not-Quite-As-Good-As-Me" James. He and fellow nominee Kaley Cuoco lost in fan voting to Josh Duhamel.[13][14]

James starred in the sitcom Kevin Can Wait, which premiered on September 19, 2016.[15][16] The series was renewed for a second season,[17] before being canceled at the season's end.

In 2021, James released a new show on Netflix called The Crew.[18] It was canceled after one season.[19]

James is set to portray John Daly, in the upcoming series.


James on the set of Paul Blart: Mall Cop in 2008

After a cameo in 50 First Dates in 2004, James made his starring 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 straight-to-video 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 & Larry (2007) and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), and starred in the Sandler-produced comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). The latter film opened as the No. 1 film in North America with a weekend gross of $39 million, despite overwhelmingly negative reviews,[20] and eventually grossed $219 million from ticket and home video sales. James also appeared in Grown Ups (2010), which co-starred numerous Saturday Night Live alumni and was even more universally panned, yet was highly successful at the box office[21] and led to a sequel in 2013.

In 2011, he had a lead role with Vince Vaughn in the comedy-drama The Dilemma and then with Rosario Dawson in Zookeeper, which he wrote and produced. James also had the lead role in the 2012 mixed martial arts comedy film Here Comes the Boom.[22] He starred as well in the movie Pixels in 2015 and the following year in True Memoirs of an International Assassin, directed by Jeff Wadlow and released by Netflix on November 11, 2016.[23][24] In 2017, James co-starred with Adam Sandler in another Netflix film, Sandy Wexler.[25]

James had a lead dramatic role in the 2020 thriller film Becky. He starred as NFL head coach Sean Payton in the 2022 biographical film Home Team. As 2024, James is set to appear three comedy films, including Guns Up, Playdate and Solo Mio.

Other work


In 2007, he was the grand marshal for the Pepsi 400 promoting I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and saying "Gentlemen, start your engines".[26] 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,[27] and in July 2013 at the Coke-Zero 400 with co-stars Sandler and Shaquille O'Neal to promote Grown Ups 2.[28] Both the 2007 Pepsi 400 command and June 2010 command at Michigan with Sandler have since been voted as two of the best and most memorable NASCAR commands in history by fans.

A web series titled Dusty Peacock produced by James and starring his brother Gary Valentine began streaming on Crackle in July 2009.[29]

In February 2020, James revived his YouTube channel which he had launched back on November 27, 2017[30] featuring short films "based on thin premises, like James eagerly waiting for a green light, misreading a hand wave, or spending birthdays by himself, but many carry a sense of melancholy and restraint."[31] By June 2020, he had over 535,000 subscribers and 28 million total views.[32]

Personal life

James' wife Steffiana de la Cruz in 2011

James met actress Steffiana de la Cruz as part of a blind date, and they were married on June 19, 2004.[33] They have four children together and reside in California.[34]

Raised in a Catholic home, James stated in 2012 that he remains a devout Catholic.[35] In 2019, he hosted a Catholic retreat featuring priest Chad Ripperger and theologian Scott Hahn.[36]




Year Title Role Notes
2002 Pinocchio Mangiafuoco English voice
2004 50 First Dates Factory Worker
2005 Hitch Albert Brennaman
2006 Grilled Dave Direct-to-video
Monster House Officer Landers Voice and motion capture
Barnyard Otis Voice
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Firefighter Larry Valentine
2008 You Don't Mess with the Zohan Himself Uncredited cameo
2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Paul Blart Also writer and producer
2010 Grown Ups Eric Lamonsoff
2011 The Dilemma Nick Brannen
Zookeeper Griffin Keyes Also writer and producer
2012 Here Comes the Boom Scott Voss[37]
Hotel Transylvania Frankenstein Voice
2013 Grown Ups 2 Eric Lamonsoff
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Paul Blart Also writer and producer
Little Boy Dr. Fox
Pixels President William Cooper
Hotel Transylvania 2 Frankenstein Voice
2016 True Memoirs of an International Assassin Sam Larson
2017 Sandy Wexler Ted Rafferty
2018 Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Frankenstein Voice
2020 Becky Dominick
Hubie Halloween Sergeant Steve Downey
2022 Home Team Sean Payton
TBA Guns Up Ray Post-production
TBA Playdate Brian Post-production
TBA Solo Mio Matt Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1994-97 A&E's An Evening at the Improv Himself Season 15, Episode 19, Season 16, Episode 3, Season 18, Episode 12, Season 19, Episode 10
1996, 1998–1999 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"
Sweat The Small Stuff Himself Stand-up comedy special
2007 Elmo's Christmas Countdown Santa Claus TV film
2015 Liv and Maddie Mr. Clodfelter Episode: "Cook-a-Rooney"
2016–2018 Kevin Can Wait Kevin Gable Lead role (48 episodes)
2021 The Crew Kevin Gibson Lead role (10 episodes)
TBA Untitled John Daly limited series John Daly Lead role

Stand-up specials

Yeah Title Notes
2001 Sweat the Small Stuff
2018 Never Don't Give Up
2024 Irregardless



Teen Choice Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2005 Hitch Choice Movie: Dance Scene[A] Nominated [38]
Choice Movie: Liplock[A]
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated [39]

Primetime Emmy Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2006 The King of Queens; episode: "Pole Lox" Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated [40]

Golden Raspberry Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2008 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Worst Supporting Actor Nominated [41]
Worst Screen Couple[B]
2014 Grown Ups 2 Worst Screen Combo[C] Nominated [42]
2016 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Worst Actor Nominated [43]
Worst Picture
Worst Screenplay
Pixels Worst Supporting Actor Nominated

People's Choice Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Kevin Can Wait Favorite Actor in a New TV Series Nominated [44]



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


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  3. ^ "Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  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.
  5. ^ "Kevin James Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c 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.
  7. ^ WENN (July 13, 2013). "Kevin James reunited with high school wrestling pal Mick Foley on TV". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "Search Results – Entertainment". MSN. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
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  18. ^ Skopp, Sam. "The Crew Season 2 Release Date, Plot, Cast – What We Know So Far". Looper.
  19. ^ Kimball, Trevor (July 6, 2021). "The Crew: Cancelled at Netflix; Kevin James Comedy Not Returning for a Second Season". canceled + renewed TV shows – TV Series Finale. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  20. ^ "Critics' reviews for Paul Blart:Mall Cop".
  21. ^ "Critics' reviews for Grown Ups".
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  27. ^ Douglass, Bryant (September 29, 2012). "Kevin James to Serve as Grand Marshall". FanSided, Inc. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  28. ^ Bianchi, Jordan (July 6, 2013). "Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Shaquille O'Neal sing command to start engines". Vox Media, LLC. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  29. ^ "Kevin James, Gary Valentine Get Reckless on 'Dusty Peacock'". July 17, 2009. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
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  35. ^ Mark Pattison (October 9, 2012). "Comic actor Kevin James wants to 'glorify God in every way'". Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  36. ^ Hahn, Scott. "A wonderful time on retreat". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
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  42. ^ "34th RAZZIE® "Winners": Everybody Gets Something ...Except Adam Sandler!". Golden Raspberry Awards.
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