A legendary Hollywood actress with an instantly recognizable voice, Estelle Harris, passed away last week at the age of 93, entertainment website TVOM reported.
Harris, who was just weeks away from turning 94, is said to have died from natural causes.
“It is with the greatest remorse and sadness to announce that Estelle Harris has passed on this evening at 6:25 pm,” Glen Harris, son of the actress, said in an April 2 statement to Deadline.
“Her kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy and love were practically unrivaled, and she will be terribly missed by all those who knew her,” the son, who was by her side as she passed, added of his mother.
George Constanza’s mother on “Seinfeld,” Mrs. Potato Head in “Toy Story”
According to Variety, Harris was best known for two specific reprising roles — first, as Estelle Costanza on “Seinfeld,” the lovable mother of the George Costanza character, played by Jason Alexander, who routinely bickered hilariously with her character’s husband, George’s father Frank Costanza, played by Jerry Stiller.
The other best-known role for Harris was as Mrs. Potato Head in Pixar’s “Toy Story” animated franchise. Interestingly enough, that character was played similarly to her “Seinfeld” character in as much as her relationship with Mr. Potato Head, voiced by Don Rickles.
Yet, while those were arguably Harris’ most famous roles, she had quite a prolific acting career according to her IMDb page, which listed more than 100 credited appearances for her, the vast majority of which were voiceovers for characters in animated TV series and films.
Her Acting career began later in life
According to The New York Times, Harris was born in New York City in 1928 to Polish immigrant parents but ultimately moved with her family to a small town in Pennsylvania as a child.
Her acting career didn’t begin until much later in life after she had married and raised three children, and, according to Variety, started with appearances in commercials in the late 1970s.
In the 1980s, Harris began making guest appearances or playing bit roles in a variety of TV shows and movies, but finally attained a level of stardom following her first appearance on “Seinfeld” in 1992.
Jason Alexander, in response to the news of Harris’ death, 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.”
Deadline noted that Harris is survived by her three adult children plus three grandsons and one great-grandson. She will also certainly be missed by her many former colleagues and friends and fans of her incredible work.