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Seinfeld: How One Scene Pushed Newman Actor Wayne Knight To Want To Get Healthier

For Wayne Knight, health is wealth.

Asking someone who their favorite "Seinfeld" cast member is like asking a parent who their favorite child is — it's an impossible question. One of the most widely beloved shows of all time, with one of the most memorable ensemble casts put to screen, "Seinfeld" continues to be a persistent part of our culture. It turned its leads, like Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and more, into overnight sensations. Still relevant to this day, the cast of "Seinfeld" continues to make waves. 

Knight, who serves as Jerry's (Seinfeld) biggest hater Newman, the series was more than just a career launchpad. Knight debuted on the show in 1992, just a year before he appeared in Steven Spileberg's "Jurassic Park." While Knight has a slew of cinematic roles under his belt, with projects like "Basic Instinct" and "Space Jam" padding out his CV, the actor will likely continue to be known as Newman. And as impressive as Knight's career has been, he attributes a lot more to "Seinfeld" than just hefty residuals.

During a behind-the-scenes look at "Seinfeld" Season 7, Knight candidly opened up about how filming a key scene led to a health scare. During Season 7, Episodes 21 and 22, titled "The Bottle Deposit," Knight's character was asked to run repeatedly through a cornfield. "In the process of doing that, at my maximum weight, I began to have palpitations," Knight shared, adding that he went to a doctor who confirmed that he had blood pressure-related ailments. Knight continued by saying that he was on track to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes if he didn't lose weight. "[I] began the process of getting to where I am today: a healthy man. Thanks to this show. God bless you, Jerry," Knight cheekily added.

The Newman actor is happy with his weight-loss results

Wayne Knight has made considerable waves, both in terms of his health and career. The actor began to get steady work in the '80s but it wasn't until "Seinfeld" that Knight became a household name. Appearing on what was once the most beloved show of all time allowed Knight to considerably expand his career. That, however, wouldn't have been possible without an emphasis on staying as healthy as possible.

In a conversation with Entertainment Weekly in 1993, the actor admitted that his health was becoming an issue that he needed to tackle. "I used to smoke, drink, and eat a lot, with a family history of heart disease," Knight said, revealing that he lost 40 pounds. "So I didn't buy any calendars. Now I'm long-range-planning to next week." Beyond focusing on his health, Knight admitted that he also wanted to tackle his self-image. "I'd no longer be known as 'that fat guy,'" Knight said while discussing his intentions to lose more weight. "There's nothing wrong with 'Hey, look, there's that guy that blends in with the crowd!'" he added. Of course, even with his weight loss, Knight is still fondly remembered for playing Newman and his other iconic characters. 

In a separate chat with CBS News, which took place in 2004, Knight opened up about how, for the majority of his career, he was typecast because of his weight. "I was very pleased. It's great to be funny and not be fat funny," Knight admitted. During his conversation with CBS, Knight revealed that he weighed over 300 pounds in "Jurassic Park," a film that debuted just a year after his 1992 debut in "Seinfeld."

How did Wayne Knight get in shape?

During his conversation with CBS News, Wayne Knight candidly discussed his weight loss journey and the tools he utilizes to maintain his health. In the 2004 interview, Knight discussed the importance of seeing a support group that helps him understand his relationship with food. "I was eating for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. I was eating to numb myself, and when I began to have to look at the fact that I was eating as an addiction and treat it as such, that's when I turned a corner," the actor revealed, admitting that overeating was a constant in his life. 

How did the "Seinfeld" actor tackle this issue? At the time, Knight said that he was enjoying a daily caloric intake of 1,500 calories a day. Knight continued his conversation by motivating others who are facing difficulties with their health, saying, "Who would think I could do that? If I can, who can't?" And as important as it is to motivate others, Knight knows that he has to motivate himself to ensure he doesn't have to deal with the health scares that his "Seinfeld" days brought. "Well, he will never be back. The porky guy who played him, I hope, will never be back," Knight said about his "Seinfeld" character, adding that he hopes to maintain his weight and health for the rest of his life. 

Since "Seinfeld" wrapped up in 1998, Knight has continued to appear on the big and small screen, working with some of the most impressive and interesting contemporary creatives. Audiences have seen the Newman actor in the criminally underrated "Punisher: War Zone," and the Daveed Diggs-penned film "Blindspotting." Occasionally, he'll even voiced The Penguin in the animated "Harley Quinn" series.