NEW YORK (AP) – Estelle Harris, who made her way into TV history as George Costanza’s little-fused mother in “Seinfeld” and voiced Mrs. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” franchise, has died. He was 93 years old.
As middle-class matron Estelle Costanza, Harris put a memorable stamp on his repetitive role in the 1990s sitcom. With her high-pitched voice and humorously indomitable attitude, she was a model of maternal anger.
Insulting and abusive dealing with her on-screen husband, starring Jerry Steeler, Harris helped create a parenting pairing that would leave even a psychiatrist helpless to do anything but hopefully move to Florida – as their son, Jason Alexander played. Encourage them to do in vain.
Harris’ agent Michael Eisenstein confirmed the actor’s death Saturday evening in the Palm Desert, California.
Viewers from all backgrounds would tell her that she was like their own mother, Harris often said.
She told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1998, “She is a mother whom everyone loves, even though she has neck pain.”
The career-determining role came decades later on stage and screen. Born April 22, 1928, in New York City, Harris grew up in the city and later in the Pittsburgh suburb of Trentum, Pennsylvania, where his father owned a sweet shop. He began using his comedy talent in high school productions where he realized he could “make the audience hysterical,” as he told People magazine in 1995.
After the “Seinfeld” nine-season run ended in 1998, Harris began appearing on stage and on screen. She voiced Mrs. Potato in the 1999 animated blockbuster “Toy Story 2” and, among other roles, played the recurring character Muriel in the popular Disney Channel sitcom “The Suite Life of Jack and Cody”.
She stopped doing show business when she got married in the early 1950’s, but as her three children grew up, she started acting in amateur parties, dinner theaters, and commercials (“I got out of diapers and bottles and Blah-Blah Baby Talk”). Had to come, “he said man). Eventually, he began appearing in TV shows, including the legal comedy “Night Court,” and in films, including director Sergio Leone’s 1984 gangland epic, “Once Upon a Time in America.”
Her “Seinfeld” debut came in one of the show’s most famous episodes: the 1992 Emmy Award-winning “The Contest”, where four central characters challenged each other to refrain from artistically describing “it”.
Harris will be appearing in dozens more episodes of “Nothing”. She was stabbed to death on the shattered pavilion, screaming about George’s hunky-panky in her parents’ bed, and scattering for the festive, the idiosyncratic holiday of screen husband Frank.
In 1998, Steeler told The Record of Bergen County, NJ, “Estelle is a born actor.”
Still, Harris saw a sympathetic undertone to his character, often saying that Estelle was frustrated with her annoying partner and a boy’s conspiratorial conspiracy.
Viewers, he told an interviewer in 1998, “Just look at him funny, intelligent and loud ৷ but not the way I play him. I play with sadness under him.”
She is survived by her three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.