‘Seinfeld’ Actress Estelle Harris, a Former Western PA Resident, Dies at 93

SEINFELD -- "The Shower Head" Episode 15 -- Pictured: (l-r) Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza (Photo by Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

By Patrick Berkery

April 5, 2022

Harris, who played George Costanza’s mother on the iconic sitcom, was born in New York, but raised in suburban Pittsburgh.

Though her portrayal of George Costanza’s easily agitated mother Estelle screamed Queens, “Seinfeld” actress Estelle Harris actually grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Tarentum.

Harris died at the age of 93 Saturday. 

Harris was born in New York, but her family moved to Tarentum when she was a child. Her father and uncle owned a candy store in town called Star Confectionary.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Harris was a 1945 graduate of Tarentum High School where she performed in school plays. Seeing films at local movie theaters inspired her to pursue acting.

Though best known for her memorable “Seinfeld” appearances — none more memorable than her show debut, when she ends up in the hospital from a fall after catching George “enjoying himself” to an issue of Glamour magazine — Harris had other notable roles in her decades-long career, including the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” franchise.

In a Chicago Tribune story from 1995, Harris described complaining to “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David about her character’s constant yelling, before coming to terms with the part.

“The more I yell, the more they laugh,” she said.


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