Wayne Eliot Knight (born August 7, 1955) is an American actor, perhaps best known for his role as Newman in the TV sitcom Seinfeld. His other prominent roles include Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park, Al McWhiggin in Toy Story 2, Tantor in Tarzan, Don Orville in 3rd Rock from the Sun and Stan Podolak in Space Jam.
Knight was born in New York City, New York, the son of William "Bill" Knight, a textile factory supervisor who soon moved the family to Cartersville, Georgia, where Knight grew up. Knight was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia. He was the mascot for the Bulldogs in his sophomore year. He left the college as an honor student but one credit shy of a degree to pursue his career at the Barter Theatre in Virginia. After an internship there, he joined the company and left with Equity Card in hand to take on New York City. Two years later he had his first role on Broadway.
Knight has had prominent film roles, such as in JFK by Oliver Stone and in the infamous interrogation scene in Basic Instinct. Also, due to the latter, he was the first person to be cast in Jurassic Park after director Steven Spielberg saw him in the scene. Knight was cast as the bumbling overweight InGen Corporation's chief programmer for the park and spy for Biosyn, Dennis Nedry. He also appeared in Dead Again, To Die For, Space Jam and Dirty Dancing.
During the mid-to-late 1990s he simultaneously played prominent supporting roles on two TV series on NBC. He played the part of the mailman Newman in Seinfeld (where he participated in a scene spoofing Kevin Costner's "back and to the left" speech from JFK and a scene spoofing his role as an interrogator in Basic Instinct); he also played Officer Don Orville, Sally's love interest in 3rd Rock from the Sun. He had earlier appeared in Against the Grain, featuring the then unknown Ben Affleck. He also appeared as a regular on two sketch comedy series, The Edge for Fox and Assaulted Nuts for Cinemax and Channel 4 in the UK.
Knight was most prominently known for his role in Jurassic Park (1993) as the character Dennis Nedry, aka "The man with the God damn butterfingers." Nedry promised to run a dinosaur over when was "coming back."
Knight has appeared on Broadway in the plays Gemini, Mastergate, Art and most recently in Sweet Charity with Christina Applegate. During filming of an episode of Seinfeld (The Bottle Deposit), Knight felt what he thought to be angina pains and sought the help of a cardiologist who told him that he was morbidly obese, had high blood pressure and was near diabetic. The actor then took on a serious program involving diet, exercise and outside support. He eventually lost 117 pounds (53 kg). Currently, he maintains about 75–80 lb (35 kg) of that loss.
Knight also voiced the black cat Mister Blik on the Nickelodeon cartoon Catscratch. He also voices the dragon Dojo Kanojo Cho in the Kids' WB! animated series Xiaolin Showdown. He also voiced Evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear of Star Command on Toon Disney and Disney Channel, Al McWhiggin, the toy store manager of Al's Toy Barn, in Toy Story 2. Tantor the elephant in Tarzan and Demetrius the shopkeeper in Hercules and also made guest appearances on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy as the Jack-O-Lantern and Brandy and Mr. Whiskers as Mr. Cantarious the snail. He recently voiced the bug Juju on Tak and the Power of Juju.
Knight appeared on the Pilot episode of the U.S. version of Thank God You're Here. He made a second appearance on the last episode of the first season. There, he won the Thank God You're Here blue door award.
In 2008, Knight voiced Max, a cat in Cat Tale. He played the Punisher's techno sidekick Microchip in Punisher: War Zone. Knight guest stars in The Penguins of Madagascar as Max the Cat in the episodes "Launchtime" and "Cat's Cradle".
In 2009, Knight reprised his role as the Seinfeld character Newman for the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Wayne also guest starred on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation season 10 episode Working Stiffs.
- The Wanderers (1979)
- The Day After (1983)
- The Sex O'Clock News (1984)
- Double Negative (1985)
- Dirty Dancing (1987)
- Everybody's All-American (1988)
- Dead Again (1991) ('Piccolo' Pete Dugan)
- JFK (1991)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- Seinfeld (1991–1998) (Newman)
- Jurassic Park (1993) (Dennis Nedry)
- To Die For (1995) (Ed Grant)
- Space Jam (1996) (Stan Podolak)
- 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996–2001)
- For Richer or Poorer (1997)
- Hercules (1997) (Demetrius)
- Toonsylvania (1998) (Igor)
- The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998) (voice of the Microwave)
- Tarzan (1999) (Tantor)
- My Favorite Martian (1999) (voice of Zoot)
- Toy Story 2 (1999) (voice of Al)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000) (voice of Zurg)
- Rat Race (2001)
- That '70s Show (2001) Eric's Guardian Angel
- Xiaolin Showdown (2003) (Dojo)
- Cheaper by the Dozen (cameo) (2003) (Pete the chandelier fixer)
- Justice League Unlimited (2004) (voice of Abnegazar)
- Catscratch (2005) (Mr. Blik)
- CSI: NY (2006)
- Thank God You're Here (2007)
- WordGirl (2007) - Police Commissioner Watson (voice)
- Tactics (2008)
- Kung Fu Panda (2008)
- Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King (2008) (voice of the Amazing Krudzki)
- Punisher: War Zone (2008)
- The Penguins of Madagascar (Max the Cat) in the episodes "Launchtime" and "Cat's Cradle"
- The Super Hero Squad Show (2009) (voice of Egghead)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2009) (Newman/Himself)
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Working Stiffs (2009) (Terrence Lombard)
- Woke Up Dead (2009)
- Space Buddies (2009) (The Officer at the gate)
- Nip/Tuck (2009)
- Hot in Cleveland (2010) (Rick)
- Winnie the Pooh (2011) (Papa Heffalump)
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