Estelle Harris, ‘Seinfeld’ And ‘Toy Story’ Actor, Dies At 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Estelle Harris, who hollered her manner into TV historical past as George Costanza’s short-fused mom on “Seinfeld” and voiced Mrs. Potato Head within the “Toy Story” franchise, has died. She was 93.

As middle-class matron Estelle Costanza, Harris put a memorable stamp on her recurring position within the smash Nineties sitcom. Along with her high-pitched voice and humorously overbearing angle, she was an archetype of maternal indignation.

Buying and selling insults and absurdities along with her on-screen husband, played by Jerry Stiller, Harris helped create a parental pair that would go away even a psychiatrist helpless to do something however hope they’d transfer to Florida — as their son, performed by Jason Alexander, fruitlessly inspired them to do.

Harris’ agent Michael Eisenstadt confirmed the actor’s loss of life in Palm Desert, California, on Saturday night.

Viewers of all backgrounds would inform her she was identical to their very own moms, Harris typically mentioned.

“She is the mother that everybody loves, even though she’s a pain in the neck,” she informed the Pittsburgh Submit-Gazette in 1998.

The career-defining position got here after many years on stage and display. Born April 22, 1928, in New York Metropolis, Harris grew up within the metropolis and later within the Pittsburgh suburb of Tarentum, Pennsylvania, the place her father owned a sweet retailer. She began tapping her comedic skills in highschool productions the place she realized she “could make the audience get hysterical,” as she informed Individuals journal in 1995.

After the nine-season run of “Seinfeld” led to 1998, Harris continued to look on stage and display. She voiced Mrs. Potato Head within the 1999 animated blockbuster “Toy Story 2” and performed the recurring character Muriel within the in style Disney Channel sitcom “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” amongst different roles.

She had stopped pursuing present enterprise when she married within the early Fifties however resumed appearing in novice teams, dinner theater and commercials as her three kids grew (“I had to get out of diapers and bottles and blah-blah baby talk,” she informed Individuals). Ultimately, she started showing in visitor roles on TV exhibits together with the authorized comedy “Night Court,” and in movies together with director Sergio Leone’s 1984 gangland epic “Once Upon a Time in America.”

Her “Seinfeld” debut got here in one of many present’s most celebrated episodes: the Emmy Award-winning 1992 “The Contest,” through which the 4 central characters problem one another to chorus from doing what’s artfully described solely as “that.”

Harris would go on to look in dozens extra episodes of the “show about nothing.” She seethed over snubbed paella, screeched about George’s hanky-panky within the parental mattress and laid out the unfold for display husband Frank’s idiosyncratic vacation, Festivus.

“Estelle is a born performer,” Stiller informed The Document of Bergen County, N.J., in 1998. “I just go with what I got, and she goes back at me the same way.”

Nonetheless, Harris noticed a sympathetic undertone to her character, typically saying Estelle fumed out frustration at her bumbling mate and scheming slacker of a son.

Viewers, she informed an interviewer in 1998, “just look at her as being funny, cute and a loudmouth. But it’s not how I play her. I play her with misery underneath.”

She is survived by her three kids, three grandsons, and an excellent grandson.


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