The entertainment world was saddened on Friday to learn that Liz Sheridan, perhaps best known as Jerry Seinfeld’s on-screen mother, Helen, in the comedian’s blockbuster 90s sitcom, died in her sleep at the age of 93, as Fox News reports.
Sheridan’s death in New York City was attributed to natural causes by the actress’ representative, Amanda Hendon, and was confirmed to have occurred just five days after her birthday, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Long and storied career
Born in Rye, New York, Sheridan enjoyed a lengthy and varied career, working as an actress and dancer in an array of productions, ultimately gaining fame through her frequent appearances on television programs such as Gimme a Break!, St. Elsewhere, Newhart, Kojak, and ALF, in which she portrayed the overly-curious neighbor, Mrs. Ochmonek.
Notably, Sheridan enjoyed a romance with legendary film star James Dean when the two were fledgling young thespians in the Big Apple back in the early 1950s, a part of her life she discussed at length in a book she penned, entitled, Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life with James Dean.
Describing the relationship as “just kind of magical,” Sheridan explained in 1996 that “it was the first love for both of us.”
However, it was her role in 1990s network comedy juggernaut Seinfeld that Sheridan gained an even greater fan base, due to her hilariously overbearing, yet utterly devoted maternal presence in a noteworthy number of episodes.
Popularly known as a “show about nothing,” Seinfeld chronicled the trials and tribulations of a group of offbeat characters in New York City, ultimately snagging a whopping 10 Emmy awards, as Fox News noted.
Though she went on to perform a one-woman show called Mrs. Seinfeld Sings, Sheridan lamented that after Seinfeld went off the air, she and the actor who portrayed her husband in the sitcom, Barney Martin, found it difficult to win subsequent roles.
“It’s been difficult for Barney and I to get other work because we’re so associated with the Seinfelds,” Sheridan said in 1998, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
End of an era
Sadly, Sheridan’s death was not the only one to befall the iconic Seinfeld cast in recent days, as actress Estelle Harris, who memorably played mother to actor Jason Alexander’s character, George Costanza, also passed away due to natural causes earlier this month at the age of 93, according to the New York Post.
In the aftermath of the ladies’ passing, cast members from the show that made them famous took to Twitter to offer fond remembrances, with Jerry Seinfeld saying of Sheridan, “Liz was always the sweetest, nicest TV mom a son could wish for,” and Alexander saying of Harris, “The joy of playing with her and relishing her glorious laughter was a treat. I adore you, Estelle.”
Though both Sheridan and Harris will be immensely missed by friends and family alike, their impressive bodies of comedic work will continue to bring hearty laughs and happy moments to millions around the world for decades to come.