Estelle Harris, Mrs. Costanza on Seinfeld, has died at 93.
ExtraTV reports she died in Palm Desert, California, of natural causes. She was with her son, Glen Harris, who said, "Her kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy and love were practically unrivaled, and she will be terribly missed by all those who knew her."
Harris was born Estelle Nussbaum on April 22, 1928, in NYC. While raising a family with her husband Sy — who died after nearly 60 years of marriage in January 2021 —she worked on the stage and made her film debut in Looking Up (1977).
She appeared on many popular TV series as a colorful guest, including on Night Court (1985 & 1986), Married... with Children (1987), Brooklyn Bridge (1991), Law & Order (1992), Mad About You (1992) and Star Trek: Voyager (1996).
Her first job as a series regular was on Good Advice (1993), which did not last. But she was already making TV history on 27 episodes of Seinfeld (1992-1998) as George Costanza's (Jason Alexander) high-strung mom, also named Estelle.
The fictional Estelle caught her son pleasuring himself with her copy of Glamour magazine, looked like a scary doll, lay hungry in her hospital bed as her son furtively ogled her attractive roommate receiving a sponge bath, suspected Kramer (Michael Richards) of "stopping short" with her and worse. Mrs. Costanza also faced marital strife with her husband Frank (the late Jerry Stiller) — a man known to wear a cape, to require a "man-ziere," and who once sit down hard on a sculpture made of fusilli.
Upon hearing of her death, Alexander tweeted, "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. #RIPEstelleHarris."
Harris was immediately recognizable in all her TV work, but also did a number of movies, including appearing in the gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984), in Stand and Deliver (1988), and as the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the last three Toy Story films (1999-2019), plus multiple projects and shorts related to the series.
Toy Story 4 became her final work, in 2019.
On top of episodic TV and films, Harris was the "Queen of Commercials." Deadline reports she booked upwards of 25 spots a year at her peak.
Harris is survived by her three children, three grandsons, and her great-grandson.