'Soup for you!' as beloved TV grump visits Sewickley
By Joanne Barron| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Larry Thomas said he promises not to refuse anyone soup when he appears at Big Bang Comics and Collectibles in Sewickley during the Sewickley Soup Crawl.
But, he said, he does expect to yell his famous catch phrase, “No soup for you,” more than a few times for his fans.
Thomas received a 1996 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy nomination for his 1995 role as “The Soup Nazi” in episode six, season seven, of NBC's “Seinfeld.”
During the episode, Thomas yells “No soup for you,” — when those ordering his soup do not follow proper procedure. He brought the line back when he appeared on the “Seinfeld” finale three years later.
Thomas said the words have “some kind of magic.” and he often says them without thinking, even before someone asks him.
“Why would I mind? My mother even makes me say it. I don't know where I'd be now without it,” he said.
Dave Bishop of Moon, who with his wife, Beth, owns Big Bang Comics at 437 Broad St., said it was a no-brainer to have Larry as part of the soup crawl.
“Larry is a huge pop culture icon, and we carry a lot of pop culture collectibles in addition to comic books,” he said.
In the process of trying to arrange for Thomas' appearance, Bishop found out his publicist lives nearby. Lynda Schneider of Franklin Park is founder and owner of Lynda B. Schneider LLC, a public relations, media, event management, promotion and publicity company.
“When I found that out, I thought this was meant to be,” said Bishop, who is paying for Thomas' flight and appearance. Thomas, who lives in Los Angeles but often visits the Sewickley area, said he first got together with the Schneiders about 10 years ago when Schneider bought Soup Nazi memorabilia for her husband, Paul, for Christmas and then invited Thomas to a party at her home.
“Now, they are some of my closest friends in the world,” he said.
Schneider said Thomas is nothing like the Soup Nazi.
“He's such a good actor. He still scares me a little when he does the voice,” she said.
They've done several business ventures, events and charity functions together over the years, and now, Schneider is helping him find a publishing house for his book, “Confessions of a Soup Nazi, an Adventure in Acting and Cooking,” which contains many of his recipes and his memoirs.
Thomas said he has been cooking for most of his life, never dreaming he'd land an acting role as a soup maker, even after Jerry Seinfeld “roared with laughter,” when he auditioned.
Afterward, Seinfeld wanted Thomas to try making the Soup Nazi nice, but when Thomas tried it, Seinfeld didn't laugh. He later told Thomas to do it his way, because it was funnier.
Thomas remembers how surprised he was when Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes) ad-libbed playing the drums on his soup counter.
“I got a lot of credit for how I reacted to her, but I just stared at her. There wasn't anything else I could do,” he said with a laugh.
During autograph sessions, he said he has had fans approach the table mocking the correct soup procedure.
When a couple started to “make out” as they were waiting, Thomas yelled in his Soup Nazi voice, “Nobody kisses in my line,” as he did in the Seinfeld episode, making the crowd laugh.
Thomas now does two or three independent films a year and makes appearances at about four or five comic book and autograph-signing conventions each year.
He has had guest spots on TV shows; done films and commercials; used the character to promote soup kitchens for the homeless; performed in theater productions; and is part of “Project Fedora,” a video game using live-action scenes.
He has had movie roles as the blackjack dealer in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997), Osama bin Laden in “Postal” (2008) and a guest spot as a Saddam Hussein look-alike in the TV series “Arrested Development” (2006).
Thomas has a son, Ben, 20, who he calls “the light of my life.” He said Ben has no interest in acting and wants to design video games, so Thomas said he hopes someday, they will work on a project together.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or email@example.com.
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