Liz Sheridan, Jerry's protective mom on the iconic sitcom Seinfeld, died Friday in her sleep of natural causes. She was 93.
Her death came five days after her birthday (April 10) and on the birth anniversary of her late best friend, Elizabeth Montgomery.
Born in New York City, Sheridan spent her youth as a dancer. At 21, as documented in her 2000 memoir Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life with James Dean — A Love Story, she met a 20-year-old James Dean prior to his fame.
According to her, the two were passionately in love, even living together. When Dean proposed marriage, right before he took off for Hollywood and superstardom, she said no.
Instead, Sheridan found work as a singer and dancer across the West Indies.
When Sheridan returned to the U.S. in 1977, she appeared on Broadway with Christopher Lloyd and Meryl Streep in 1977's Happy End, as well as in other productions.
She also appeared on such shows as Kojak (1977; her TV debut), Archie Bunker's Place (1981), St. Elsewhere (1983), Oh Madeline (1983), the pilot episode of Moonlighting (1985), and Remington Steele (1985-1986).
She played nosy neighbor Mrs. Ochmonek on 34 episodes of ALF (1986-1990), but it was her stint as Helen Seinfeld that earned her TV immortality.
In spite of being so closely associated with the series that it stunted her ability to get work after the series ended, Sheridan was only on 21 episodes — but was the only recurring character to appear in all eight seasons, and also had the distinction of appearing on the first and last episodes.
As Jerry's doting mom, she memorably chastised him when he humbly noted that not everybody likes him ("Doesn't like you? How could anyone not like you?"), was a thorn in Elaine's side over the sweltering temperature inside the Seinfelds' Del Boca Vista home ("Mrs. Seinfeld, please, I am begging you: Put the air conditioner on!" "You're hot?"), and reacted to a false rumor that her son was gay with one of the series' most famous catchphrases: "Not that there's anything wrong with it."
Post-Seinfeld, Sheridan made a popular Denny's commercial with "Morty Seinfeld" Barney Martin, and appeared in a number of films and TV shows, including providing the voice of Mrs. Stillman on Life with Louie (1994-1997) and playing a woman who slips an aging suitor a Viagra in the indie Play the Game (2009), Andy Griffith's final film.
Sheridan was preceded in death by her husband, jazz trumpeter and writer Dale Wales, in 2003. The couple had been together for over 40 years. She is survived by their daughter.