By Jerry Oppenheimer
Jerry Seinfeld, dabbling with Scientology? In this lively, unauthorized bio, pals from Seinfeld’s days at Queens College relate the Jewish comedian’s onetime interest in the teachings of the controversial church. Oppenheimer, the author of books on Martha Stewart and the Clintons, also delves into Seinfeld’s childhood connection to alleged crime boss and neighbor Carlo Gambino (Kal, Jerry’s dad, was a poker buddy of the don’s) and his dating Bachelor Party sexpot Tawny Kitaen.
Otherwise, though, large swaths of the book register as so much yada, yada, yada. Oppenheimer rehashes the oft-told tale of the initial failure of his sitcom (test audiences hated it) and fails to unearth many revelations about the then-39-year-old comic’s romance with Shoshanna Lonstein, then 17. Even so, interviews with those who knew Seinfeld on his way up—tellingly, no one in his current inner circle cooperated for this book—provide the most intimate picture yet of a star who values his privacy almost as much as his fleet of Porsches. (HarperCollins, $25.95)
Bottom Line: Mixed Seins