Estelle Harris, best known for playing Estelle Costanza on Seinfeld, died of natural causes on Saturday at the age of 93, days shy of her 94th birthday.
“It is with the greatest remorse and sadness to announce that Estelle Harris has passed on this evening at 6:25 pm,” Harris’ son Glenn said in a statement to our sister site Deadline. “Her kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy and love were practically unrivaled, and she will be terribly missed by all those who knew her.”
Having entered the business later in life after raising children, Harris started her career in commercials. In 1992, she began her most famous role as George Costanza’s mom on the hit sitcom Seinfeld, first appearing in the Season 4 episode “The Contest” and recurring on the series through the end of its run. She appeared in a total of 27 episodes and became beloved for her character’s constant screaming at her family and hilariously overbearing nature.
Jason Alexander, who played George on Seinfeld, paid tribute to Harris in a tweet: “One of my favorite people has passed — my TV mama, Estelle Harris. The joy of playing with her and relishing her glorious laughter was a treat. I adore you, Estelle. Love to your family. Serenity now and always.”
Harris guest-starred on shows like Mad About You, Law & Order, Married… With Children, Living Single and Moesha, but also held other recurring roles throughout her career. She played Easy Mary on Night Court, in addition to appearing in 14 episodes of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as Muriel. Also noteworthy was a guest spot as herself in a 2009 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where she appeared alongside fellow Seinfeld cast members Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander and Michael Richards.
Her comically shrill voice led to a healthy voice-acting career, securing her the role of Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise. Other voice work included Kim Possible, Dave the Barbarian, Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse. She also voiced one-off characters on Family Guy, American Dad! and Futurama.
Harris’ film credits included This Is My Life, CBGB and Playing Mona Lisa, among others.