‘Seinfeld’ actress Estelle Harris, 93, dies in Palm Desert
Actress Estelle Harris, who played the mother of Jason Alexander character George Costanza in “Seinfeld,” died Saturday at her home in Palm Desert. She was 93 and three weeks shy of her 94th birthday.
Harris, who was also known for her extensive voice work — including playing Ms. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” series — died of natural causes on Saturday, her rep, Michael Eisenstadt, told Variety.
Her son, Glen, later released a statement to Hollywood news site Deadline, confirming his mother’s death.
“It is with the greatest remorse and sadness to announce that Estelle Harris passed away tonight at 6.25pm,” he said. “Her kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy and love were virtually unmatched, and she will be missed terribly by all who knew her.”
In “Seinfeld”, Harris and the late Jerry Stiller played Costanza’s bickering parents, who often infuriated their son, George.
In one episode, titled “Serenity Now”, the phrase becomes a punchline after George’s father, Frank, learns of it from a self-help recording and uses it to calm his wife, Estelle. Alexander repeated it on Twitter late Saturday where he shared his condolences.
“One of my favorite people has passed away – my TV mom, Estelle Harris,” Alexander wrote. “The joy of playing with her and savoring her glorious laughter was a treat. I adore you, Estelle. Love to your family. Serenity now and always.”
The New York native was born on April 22, 1928. She married actor Sy Harris in 1953 but didn’t start acting herself until she was in her late 40s and after raising three children.
She first appeared mostly in TV commercials, once famous in 23 national commercials in a single year. On Madison Avenue of advertising, she has been dubbed the “Queen of Commercials”.
Harris then moved on to guest appearances on TV shows such as “Mad About You” and “Married With Children,” with recurring roles on “Night Court” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”
She also had several small roles in films, including director Sergio Leone’s 1984 film “Once Upon a Time in America”, which starred Robert DeNiro, and 1988’s “Stand and Deliver”.
Overall, Harris had over 100 acting credits.
She is survived by two sons. Glen and Eric, one daughter, Taryn, three
grandsons and a great-grandson.
Her husband of 68 years, Sy, died in January 2021.