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Estelle Harris, 'Seinfeld' and 'Toy Story' actress, has died

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Estelle Harris, known for her roles in Seinfeld and Toy Story, has died at the age of 93, just weeks before her 94th birthday.

Harris’ son Glen Harris confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that she died of natural causes at her Palm Desert home on Saturday (April 2).

“It is with the greatest remorse and sadness to announce that Estelle Harris has passed on this evening at 6:25pm,” he shared in a statement, as per Deadline. “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 well-known for her portrayal of George Costanza’s overbearing mum Estelle on Seinfeld. She only appeared in 27 episodes throughout the show’s nine seasons from 1992-1998, but was lauded for her exaggerated mannerisms, iconic nagging voice, and frequent bickering with her on-screen husband, played by the late Jerry Stiller.

She became a voice actor later in her career, voicing Mrs. Potato Head opposite Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head) in the Toy Story franchise, for movies two, three and four. The fourth, released in 2019, is her last acting credit.

Harris also played vocal roles in Family Guy, Futurama, Kim Possible, Tarzan II and Mickey Mouse Works, among others.

Harris was born in 1926, as Estelle Nussbaum. She had three children with her husband Sy Harris, and would take on roles in dinner theatre and commercials whenever she could, once saying she’d booked up to 27 national commercials in one year.

She began landing movie roles in 1977, including Looking Up and Summerdog, before landing a role as Peggy’s mother in Sergio Leone’s 1984 gangster flick Once Upon A Time In America.

She then entered the world of sitcoms, appearing on NBC’s Night Court and Mad About You before landing the role on Seinfeld.

In a 2012 interview with CTV News, Harris said that she’d found it hard to find anyone in her own life to base her Seinfeld character on.

“Nobody had a past like that!” she said. “I mean, that poor woman. She lived in that apartment that they got married in with the same furniture and the same husband and one son that was a loser. I mean, she had everything bad! I thought it was funny.”

Harris is survived by her three children, three grandsons and a great-grandson.

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