Estelle Harris, Seinfeld’s Estelle Costanza and Toy Story’s Mrs. Potato Head, Dies at 93

Estelle Harris, the actress who starred in Seinfeld as George Costanza’s mother Estelle and in the Toy Story franchise as Mrs. Potato Head, has died at the age of 93.

As reported by THR, the actress with the unforgettable voice died on Saturday, April 2, from natural causes at her home in Palm Desert, California. Her son Glen Harris confirmed her passing, which just days before she would have celebrated her 94th birthday on April 4.

Image Credit: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Harris joined the cast of Seinfeld as Estelle Costanza in its fourth season and had never seen an episode before her audition. However, she quickly made an impression and became a fan favorite, despite only appearing in 27 of the show’s 180 episodes.

In 2012, Harris talked about the role, saying she loved the character but had a tough time trying to base her off someone she had met in her life.

“Nobody had a past like that!” she told CTV News. “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! was funny.”

Jason Alexander, the actor who played Estelle’s son George Costanza on Seinfeld, took to Twitter to share a few words for his “tv mama.”

“One of my favorite people has passed – my tv mama, Estelle Harris,” Alexander wrote. “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”

She first lent her voice to Mrs. Potato Head in 1999’s Toy Story 2, and she would reprise her role in Toy Story 3 & 4 and several short films. She also could be heard as Timon’s mother in the Timon & Pumbaa TV short, Lula in Dave the Barbarian, Mrs. Turtle in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse, and many more.

On the live-action side of things, Harris played Muriel in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Nana in Greetings From Home, Aunt Harriet in This Is My Life, Bridget in Out to Sea, and she even played a version of herself in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Seinfeld season.

Harris was born on April 4, 1928, in Palm Desert, California, and her professional career in acting didn’t truly kick off until she was almost 50 when she secured the role of Irma in 1977’s Looking Up.

Harris met her future husband Sy Harris in 1952 at a dance and they would marry six months later. Sy passed away in January 2021, and Estelle and Sy are survived by their three children Eric, Glen, and Taryn.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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