David Krumholtz has been acting for nearly 30 years. You may know him from the popular TV series Numb3rs, which ran for six seasons, or you may know him from the first two films of Disney’s The Santa Clause franchise. Chances are, though, you have probably seen him in one of his many other projects as well because Krumholtz has so far had a very successful career.
LIFE WITH DAVID
David Krumholtz hails from Jewish descent. Born in Queens, New York, Krumholtz says his family (father a postal worker and mother a dental assistant) was a working-class family, but almost to the point of being poor. Krumholtz attended Stephen A. Halsey Junior High School, which was located in Forest Hills, Queens, and after that was enrolled in Professional Children’s School, which was located in Manhattan. This school was an alternative one designed for children who worked in the entertainment industry.
By the time David was 13 years old, he had already started going to local auditions. In 1992, he auditioned for and got the part of Young Charlie in the Broadway play, Conversations with My Father. The impressive cast included Judd Hirsch, Tony Shalhoub, and a young Jason Biggs.
His performance in Conversations with My Father led to Krumholtz getting his first feature film role. This came in 1993 on the Michael J. Fox-led comedy Life with Mikey. The film also starred Nathan Lane, Christina Vidal, and Cyndi Lauper. In it, Krumholtz played an entitled, bratty, spoiled young actor named Barry Corman and it was a role that typecast him early on, as many of his early roles had him play a similar character. Krumholtz was also nominated for the Young Artist Award for his performance.
These similar characters were seen in his following project, an episode of Law & Order, and also in the film Addams Family Values. Both of those projects led him to one that he is very well known for – Bernard the Elf in The Santa Clause. In it, Bernard is the head Elf at the North Pole and is tasked with showing Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin the ropes on becoming Santa Claus.
THE SANTA CLAUSE AND ITS SEQUEL
As the sarcastic head Elf, David Krumholtz was the perfect fit. His style of delivery was exactly what the film needed, so it wasn’t really a surprise when the film became a hit and a holiday season staple. What was a surprise, though, was the fact that it took another eight years before Disney would revisit Scott Calvin and his North Pole family.
“Family” is the issue in the first sequel and it is up to Krumholtz’s Bernard to inform Tim Allen’s Santa that there is one more clause in his Santa contract. It is called the “Mrs. Clause” and Santa now finds himself having to get married before the upcoming Christmas Eve or his clause will be broken and he will cease to exist as Santa. Krumholtz, even after eight years, steps right back into his elf shoes as Bernard, and again is one of the film’s highlights.
Like the first film, The Santa Clause 2 was another hit. That’s why it wasn’t a shock when Disney announced a third film in the franchise. And while most of the beloved characters returned four years later for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, David Krumholtz was nowhere to be seen.
WHY NOT THE SANTA CLAUSE 3?
It was a full 12 years between the original Santa Clause movie and the third. With the success of the first two, the smart move would be to have all the main players back in action for the third. All signs pointed to that happening, even including the return of Krumholtz’s grumpy, sarcastic, but eventually loveable head elf Bernard.
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“Bernard was in the third movie. They sent me the script, I had a pretty significant role. We did work out the schedule, which was going to be hellish on me, but I was going to make it work. And it was all set to go,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. At the time, Krumholtz was in his second season with the very popular TV series, Numb3rs. But something happened with the script while Krumholtz was working out his schedule with the producers of the film and the producers of his hit series.
“But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it.” Krumholtz has never explained exactly what “devalued” consisted of, but it was enough for him to finally walk away from his role as Bernard. He did so with many fond memories of the first two films, the original he still considers to be a “classic.”
“It’s wild to be part of something that’s lasted this long, that plays every single year and has become tradition in people’s homes,” he added. “I could never have imagined that I’d be having this conversation years later.” His conversation with THR came last year before Disney announced they would be dipping into the Santa Clause well one more time.
In January, Disney said Tim Allen will be returning as Santa Claus, but this time not as a film, but a mini-series instead. After the confirmation tweet by Allen, the rest of the cast was slowly leaked. Elizabeth Mitchell will return as Mrs. Claus, and they will be joined by Kal Penn, Austin Kane, Matilda Lawler, Devin Bright, and Leland Heflin. There are a few noticeable names missing, mainly Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, and yes, David Krumholtz.
There is no word if any of the four will return at some point throughout the series. What may be worrisome for fans of Krumholtz’s Bernard is that Lawler has signed on to play Santa’s Chief of Staff Betty in a role that is very similar to Bernard.
DAVID KRUMHOLTZ ON HBO
For a couple of years, David Krumholtz found success in a couple of critically-acclaimed shows on HBO, playing starkly different roles. Both were from the genius David Simon, exploring time periods in United States history. The first was in The Deuce which looked at the rise of the pornography industry through the lens of 1970s and 1980s New York City. In it, Krumholtz plays Harvey Wasserman, a director in the industry who ends up taking on something of a mentorship role (if it can be called that) to some of the performers on this scene.
The other David Simon series was Plot Against America, based on the Philip Roth novel that tells an alternate history in the lead-up to World War II and how the country’s path to this conflict may have been altered had Charles Lindbergh actually survived his famous flight. The story is told, mostly, through the eyes of a Jewish family living in Newark at the time. Krumholtz plays the older brother of the lead character, Herman Levin.
FIGHTING THE BIG “C”
Throughout David Krumholtz’s almost 30-year career, he has put in the work. Besides his popular roles as Bernard and on the series Numb3rs, Krumholtz has been seen in a number of other productions. These include The Closer, The Trouble With Normal, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (and its two sequels), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Partners, Men at Work, and a number of other films and TV series. Throughout it all, though, the toughest thing he’s had to deal with is not playing Bernard in the third Santa Clause film but having to fight cancer.
Back in 2011, Krumholtz was at the Willow Stream Spa in Arizona getting a much-needed massage. He said the massage ended when his masseuse was massaging the front of his neck and felt a lump. That lump turned into thyroid cancer. Krumholtz went in immediately for treatment and an eventual thyroidectomy. He took to his Instagram account to celebrate his ten years of being cancer-free and thanking the young lady, Bethany, who ended up saving his life. Krumholtz noted that his Thyroid cancer had been very aggressive and spread to his lymph nodes.
WHAT’S HE DOING NOW?
David Krumholtz has remained busy all through his cancer announcement, treatment, and recovery. Being cancer-free for over ten years now has only kept him working at a great pace. Krumholtz continued to work both on television and film. He was most recently seen in the series Super Pumped about the rise of Uber. He played Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google.
And will next be seen in the mini-series The White House Plumbers, which is based on the true story of Watergate masterminds, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, also stars Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux, Lena Headey, and Kathleen Turner. After that, Krumholtz will be seen in the Christopher Nolan film, Oppenheimer.