Mrs. Costanza on ‘Seinfeld’ Was 93 – The Hollywood Reporter

Estelle Harris, the New York actress with the unforgettable shriek who hilariously nagged her son (performed by Jason Alexander) and husband (Jerry Stiller) on Seinfeld, has died. She was 93.

Harris, who left a legacy of voiceover work, together with a memorable flip because the overbearing Mrs. Potato Head (the spouse of Don Rickles‘ Mr. Potato Head) in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise, died Saturday at dwelling in Palm Desert, California, of pure causes, her son Glen Harris informed The Hollywood Reporter. She was to show 94 later this month.

Harris additionally performed Aunt Harriet in Nora Ephron’s directorial debut This Is My Life (1992), reverse Julie Kavner, and appeared reverse Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in two movies: in Out to Sea (1997), as an acerbic cruise-ship visitor, and in The Odd Couple II (1998), as a flirtatious older girl.

The 5-foot-3 actress additionally endeared herself to the youthful crowd with a recurring position as Muriel, the lazy maid at The Tipton Hotel, on the 2005-08 Disney Channel sequence The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Though she held a lifelong curiosity in performing, Harris didn’t start her skilled profession till later in life, making her display debut in a small position in Looking Up (1977) when she was approaching 50. She labored steadily in bit roles till she was forged as Estelle Costanza on the fourth season of Seinfeld, making her a fan favourite. (She famous that the character was named Estelle earlier than she auditioned.)

Having by no means watched the present earlier than her tryout, Harris first appeared as Mrs. Costanza on the notorious fourth-season Seinfeld episode “The Contest.” She leads to the hospital after catching George masturbating, which leads the 4 principal characters to make a guess as to who can go with out the longest. At her preliminary audition, Harris mentioned she was shocked when she realized the which means of the euphemisms within the script.

With her attribute screech that raised her scenes to an operatic pitch, Harris grew to become identified for her sarcastic remarks and exasperated tirades on the expense of her son, George, and husband, Frank. She appeared in 27 episodes of Seinfeld from 1992-98.

Harris mentioned in 2012 that she cherished the character from the beginning however couldn’t discover anybody in her personal life on which to base her. “Nobody had a past like that!” she famous. “I mean, that poor woman. She lived in that apartment that they got married in with the same furniture and the same husband and one son that was a loser. I mean, she had everything bad! I thought it was funny.”

Despite that voice, which may very well be annoying or shrill, Harris might carry a definite heat and appeal to her roles.

She may very well be heard as Timon’s mom on the Timon & Pumbaa TV sequence; as Lula, the enchanted speaking sword, on Dave the Barbarian; as Drakken’s mom on Kim Possible; because the neurotic rooster Audrey on Disney’s Home on the Range (2004); and as Death’s Mother on Fox’s Family Guy (1999).

She was born Estelle Nussbaum in New York City to candy-store homeowners Isaac and Anna Nussbaum. After falling in love with performing in highschool, Harris grew to become a full-time mom and homemaker, however she squeezed in work in dinner theater and on TV spots at any time when she might. (She mentioned she as soon as did 27 nationwide commercials in a single yr alone).

Living on Long Island together with her husband, Sy Harris, she raised three youngsters earlier than figuring out to make a residing as an actor. An agent found her in an area manufacturing of Come Back, Little Sheba within the position of Lola (the half for which Shirley Booth received an Oscar in 1953), resulting in regular theatrical work.

Harris made it to the large display in 1977, profitable small roles in Looking Up and Summerdog. Next, she appeared as an unfeeling mom in Sergio Leone’s epic gangster movie Once Upon a Time in America (1984).

At the prompting of certainly one of her sons, who had freelanced as a publicist, Harris made the bounce to the sitcom world in 1985, securing a three-episode arc on NBC’s Night Court as a kindly hooker named Sweet Mary.

In 1992, Harris portrayed a nagging mom on NBC’s Mad About You, which might presage her position on Seinfeld. She joined the remainder of the Seinfeld forged on a 2009 episode of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, the place the plot revolved round a reunion for the TV present.

She made her debut as Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 (1999), a task she reprised within the following two sequels and in a number of quick movies.

Harris was a spokesperson for Iams Senior Food Plus pet meals for canine and cats, an extension of her lifelong love of animals.

She married Sy in 1953, they usually had two sons, Eric and Glen, and a daughter, Taryn.

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