Tue. Mar 5th, 2024


Julia Louis-Dreyfus stood up to Warner Bros. after they threatened to sue her for defying the stipulations of a deal.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus had a steady career in the 1980s, working for Woody Allen, serving as a cast member on some ill-fated seasons of Saturday Night Live and headlining sitcoms. But it was Seinfeld that was her true breakout…and it may not have happened had she not stood up to one of the most powerful studios in the business, Warner Bros.

As it turns out, the studio had a firm hold on Julia Louis-Dreyfus through a deal that would have stopped her from working with any other game in town, including a little project that would come to be known as Seinfeld. Despite urging from industry friends that she not ruffle Warner Bros. and give any money back that she may or may not have owed from “bow[ing] out” of the deal, she stood her ground.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ next move was to call Gary David Goldberg, the TV stalwart behind Family Ties, The Last Resort and Day by Day, the show the future Elaine Benes was starring in at the time. Speaking with podcast Podcrushed (via Entertainment Weekly), Louis-Dreyfus recalled, “I called [him], because it didn’t sit well with me…He was a huge force at NBC and in television specifically, and I called him and told him this story, and he said, ‘You know what? I don’t respond well to bullying so just tell them to f*ck off and don’t give them their money back’…It really emboldened me to stand up for myself, and so, that’s what I did…And they just went away, that was the end of it…That was a seminal moment for me when he said that. Because it was bullying by the way.”

From there, Julia Louis-Dreyfus landed Seinfeld, generally considered one of the greatest television series ever. The actress would garner much praise, going on to win an Emmy for her performance. Defying the so-called “Seinfeld curse”, she would go on to win seven for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, including an insane six-Emmy run, pushing her into Emmy history.

What is your favorite Julia Louis-Dreyfus performance either on television or in film? Let us know in the comments below!

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.