Kevin James (born Kevin George Knipfing on April 26, 1965) is an American comedian and Emmy-nominated actor, best known for his portrayal of lead character Doug Heffernan on the television sitcom The King of Queens.
James was born in Mineola, New York to Janet B. and Joseph Valentine Knipfing, an insurance broker. He was raised in Stony Brook, New York. James has two siblings, Gary Joseph Knipfing aka Gary Valentine, also a comedian, and Leslie Knipfing. Leslie Knipfing works for James, helping raise money through charity events for retinitis pigmentosa, with which she is afflicted, while Gary Valentine plays his cousin, Danny, on The King of Queens.
James was a student at, but did not graduate from, the State University of New York at Cortland. He played football for three years, majored in sports management and was a member of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity.
James began as a stand-up, gaining popularity through numerous appearances on various talk shows, including Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Dennis Miller Live, Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show and Live with Regis and Kelly. James was #89 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians.
A close friend of fellow comedian ,Ray Romano. James guest-starred on a few episodes of the hit television show Everybody Loves Raymond. These appearances led to the development of his own sitcom, "The King of Queens" that debuted on September 21, 1998. James was cast as the lead character, Doug Heffernan. Leah Remini was cast as his wife Carrie while Jerry Stiller was cast in the supporting role of Carrie's live-in father, Arthur Spooner. In 2006, James received his first Emmy nomination, as Outstanding Lead Actor in a television series.
James made his film debut in the 2004 romantic comedy, 50 First Dates, simply cast as a "factory worker". He next co-starred alongside Will Smith and Eva Mendes in the box office smash Hitch. The film grossed more than $179 million in the United States. In 2006, James starred with old friend Ray Romano in the poorly received comedy Grilled and voiced a character in the animated hit Barnyard.
In 2007, he will star with Adam Sandler in the comedy film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
James married model Steffiana De La Cruz on June 19th, 2004, after meeting her on a blind date. They had their first child on September 30, 2005 - a daughter named Sienna-Marie. In March of 2007, it was announced that James and his wife are expecting their 2nd child, a girl, due in the summer of 2007.
* James's parents inspired the names of Doug Heffernan's parents on The King of Queens.
* The 2005-06 season finale of The King of Queens was dedicated to the memory of his father, who died in 2006.
* In a 2000 interview, James said he weighed about 260 pounds (118 kg) but after going on multiple diets and exercise routine in 2001 he has maintained a weight of 220 pounds.
* Ward Melville High School of East Setauket, Long Island, New York was James's high school. One of James' teammates on the Ward Melville wrestling team was professional wrestler Mick Foley.
* Kevin James also is very interested in MMA fighting. He helped train Bas Rutten in his fight against Ruben Villareal. He trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has also had MMA fighters such as Bas Rutten, Frank Trigg, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Quinton Jackson appear on The King of Queens.
* A fan of the New York Mets and the New York Jets.