Seinfeld Actress Estelle Harris, Who Played Estelle Costanza, Has Died At 93

Estelle Harris, best known for her role as George Costanza's mother (also named Estelle) on "Seinfeld" and for voicing Mrs. Potatohead in the animated "Toy Story" films, has died at the age of 93. Her son, Glen Harris, confirmed the news to Deadline that she passed away from natural causes on the evening of Saturday, April 2, 2022, in Palm Desert, California. 

Harris was just weeks shy of her 94th birthday. She was born on April 22, 1928, in New York City, and started appearing in scattered film and television roles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. One of her earliest movie roles was a small part as Peggy's mother in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" in 1984. Her first TV credits were three episodes of the sitcom "Night Court."

By the time of her death, Harris had over a hundred acting credits to her name. However, it wasn't until 1992, when Harris began appearing on "Seinfeld," that she gained more widespread recognition as the character Estelle Costanza.

An unforgettable voice

Estelle made her first appearance on "Seinfeld" in the season 4 episode, "The Contest," first broadcast on November 17, 1992. George had moved back in with his parents, and Estelle landed herself in the hospital after catching him in a compromising position at home.

Harris would go on to appear in a total of 27 episodes of "Seinfeld," including the season 6 episode, "The Fusilli Jerry," in which Kramer (Michael Richards) "stopped short" on her while driving, and the season 9 episode, "The Strike," which made famous the alternative holiday of Festivus, in which George's family gathered around an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree for the ritual "airing of grievances." Her co-star and comic foil, Jerry Stiller, who played George's father, Frank, also died two years ago at the age of 92. Jason Alexander, who played George, paid tribute to Harris on Twitter following the news of her death.

After "Seinfeld" wrapped in 1998, Harris landed the voice role of Mrs. Potatohead in "Toy Story 2." She would reprise the role in the sequels, "Toy Story 3" and "Toy Story 4," the latter of which marked her final film. She also lent her signature voice to numerous episodes of "The Brothers Flub," "Dave the Barbarian," and "Fanboy & Chum-Chum." Her other live-action credits included a recurring role as Muriel on "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and one as Nana on "Greetings from Home."

Harris also did work in TV commercials and was prolific in her output. She is survived by her three children, three grandsons, and one great-grandson. Her son Glen was with her when she passed and said, "Her kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy and love were practically unrivaled, and she will be terribly missed by all those who knew her." May her memory be a blessing.