Seinfeld may have ended over 17 years ago, but that didn’t stop the show’s characters reprising their roles one last time.
When James Calder and his wife Melissa were deciding what to get his father for his birthday, they decided to create a virtual birthday party so that family and friends could record birthday messages to impress his dad, who was suffering from a rare form of lung cancer.
As the “happy birthday” videos began piling up, the Calders thought they would try to find a way to make Jim’s 67th birthday extra special: they would reach out to the cast of Seinfeld to add to the collection of birthday messages.
The Calder family had articles published on “the Seinfeld birthday project” and tried to gain the cast’s attention through word of mouth and social media and soon enough, the videos came flooding through from a host of supporting cast members.
John O’Hurley, reprised his role of J Peterman wished Jim a happy birthday.
Larry Thompson sent the Calder family a video as The Soup Nazi. Danny Woodburn (Mickey Abbott) reached out to the family to send a video and Wayne Wilderson, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Kevin Page, Sam Loyd, Lisa Mende Patrick Warburton, Ping Wu, Steve Hytner, Richard Fancy, Al Roker, Matt McCoy and Wayne Knight all joined in the fun.
A message from Al Roker:
Then, the Calders turned their attention to the lead actors, with James receiving an email from Michael Richards, who portrayed Kramer on the sitcom.
“He wanted to actually call my dad on the day of his birthday to wish him the best and have a chat. I was blown away by his kindness and generosity,” Calder wrote on The Huffington Post.
“I did try to coax him to create a video message as well but he shared that he wasn’t interested in the publicity and just wanted to help me wish my dad a happy birthday.”
Actors Jerry Stiller and Lawrence Mandley – who played Frank Costanza and Larry the Cook – also filmed videos that they requested remain private.
As James Calder’s condition worsened, his son said that the Seinfeld birthday project continued to thrive.
Fan favourite David Puddy:
“The day before he passed away, my mum and I decided to start showing him the videos to lift his spirits. He was shocked and mystified about how we were able to reach the Seinfeld cast members. He really felt the love and support.”
Later that day, the Calders received a video from Julia Louis-Dreyfus wishing him the very best and congratulating him on raising such a wonderful son.
On November 7th, James ‘Jim’ Calder passed away, just three days short of his 67th birthday.
In Calder’s obituary he was remembered for his razor sharp wit, brilliant mind and kinder soul, while his son described him as “the greatest man I have been fortunate to know.”
Newman (Wayne Knight):
And although Calder passed before his birthday, his family are incredibly grateful for the kindness of the Seinfeld cast and those who helped to support their project.
“The night my father left us something kind of eerie happened in regards to the Seinfeld connection. My mum and I decided to stay at the hospital that night. We were with dad and he passed peacefully with us by his side. My wife and daughter went back to my parents house for the night and my wife just turned on the TV and one of my dad’s favourite episodes of Seinfeld was playing. The Merv Griffin Show (season 9, episode 6). We all believe it was a sign from dad as he left this world for a better place.”