Sonya Eddy's Seinfeld Character Was Named After An Actress They Were Trying To Get On The Show

When Sonya Eddy first auditioned for a small role as a day player in "Seinfeld," she never imagined that she would deliver some of the most quotable lines in the series. The actress was so hilarious that she was even brought back for another episode. A fun fact about Eddy's character is that she was named after another actress — Rebecca De Mornay of "Risky Business" — in a ploy to get De Mornay on the show.

The minor character was not originally named after De Mornay, Eddy recalled on This Podcast is Making Me Thirsty. "I don't think her last name was De Mornay at the time, the actress explained. "I think they came up with that a little bit later in the rehearsal process." Eddy remembered Jerry Seinfeld asking for her take on the name change. "I remember Jerry saying to me, 'What do you think about us calling you Rebecca De Mornay?' And I said, 'Number one, you've got to be kidding, number two, I love her, and number three, do you think you're gonna get sued?'"

De Mornay's iconic character from the '80s classic "Risky Business" was snarky and quick-witted. Eddy's character may not have been named after De Mornay at first, but she always had her attitude. "I can't remember what the character description was," Eddy admitted. "But I remember going in with the idea of, she's just done with everybody and everything, and nobody can say anything [...] 'Cause I saw a lot of those women when I lived in New York, so I was like, 'I know this chick.' So I think, when I did that, I reminded them a lot of those women." Evidently, she also reminded them of De Mornay.

The real Rebecca De Mornay never came on Seinfeld

Eddy was concerned that the creators of "Seinfeld" could face legal trouble if they named her character after the real-life actress Rebecca De Mornay. Luckily, there was "no backlash," Eddy reported. Still, the series creators had a hidden objective when they named this character. "They were trying to get her to come to the show," Eddy revealed. "I don't know, to be on the show or to be in the audience and for it to be a little treat for the audience. I don't know what their line of thought was for that, but it didn't happen and I was kind bummed out."

They may have failed to get the real De Mornay on the show, but they struck comedy gold with the fake one. The part was actually rewritten and expanded to display more of Eddy's talents. "In the middle of the second day [of shooting] we took an extra long lunch and came back to a whole different script," Eddy remembered. "I was like, 'What happened?' [My character] was the same kind of person, but they kind of changed it up a bit if memory serves."

The Rebecca De Mornay of the "Seinfeld" universe first appears in the season 8 episode "The Muffin Tops." She works at a homeless shelter where muffin stumps are being donated en masse. The culprit is Elaine, who recently inspired a new store that only sells muffin tops. Eddy's character complains that these stumps are the equivalent of "chicken skins and lobster shells," one of the most quotable lines of a highly quotable series. "The Muffin Tops" wouldn't be Eddy's last time working on "Seinfeld," though — and it wouldn't be her only iconic moment on the show.

But Sonya Eddy became a fan favorite

The creators of "Seinfeld" loved Eddy so much that they asked her to come back for another episode in season 9. This included Spike Feresten, the head writer of "The Muffin Tops." "If I remember correctly, Spike said, 'We love what you're doing and we think we're gonna have you back,'" Eddy recalled. "And I was like 'Well, that's great.' [...] It never happens. And then when it happened, I almost lost my mind."

This time, Rebecca was working at a thrift bookstore where George was trying to donate a "tainted" book. Eddy again delivers one of the most unforgettable lines of the series when she threatens to punch George in the brain. Her last punchline had been written by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but this one was all Eddy.

"Spike [Feresten] found out that I did a lot of improv when I was in college," Eddy explained. "So they were like, 'We need to use that.' So they were just throwing things at me, 'Say this, say that, say it like that.' [...] And it was a complete shock and surprise because they waited until the audience was there. And that was the one that got the biggest laugh."

Eddy would even collaborate with series co-creator Larry David again on his film "Sour Grapes." She also appeared on soap operas like "General Hospital." Sadly, Eddy passed away in December 2022. Her performance on "Seinfeld" was a joy to watch and, for Eddy, was a crowning achievement of her career. "To be on that set, I felt like I had been vetted in a way," she explained. "Like okay, now I know I'm funny." Eddy was certainly more than just funny — she was hilarious.