Skip to main content

Estelle Harris, Who Played George Costanza’s Mother, Has Died

(From l.): Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza and Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza in ‘Seinfeld.’
(From l.): Estelle Harris as Estelle Costanza, Jason Alexander as George Costanza and Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza in ‘Seinfeld.’ (Image credit: Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Estelle Harris, who played George Costanza’s mother on Seinfeld, died April 2 in Palm Desert, California at 93. She played harridan Estelle Costanza starting in the fourth season of Seinfeld, through the series finale in 1998. 

Jason Alexander played George and Jerry Stiller played her husband Frank. Estelle Costanza had a unique knack for getting under George’s skin. 

Estelle Nussbaum was born in 1928, in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, according to The New York Times, and grew up in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining town. 

She moved back to New York in her later teen years. She married Sy Harris, had three children and was a homemaker before acting in dinner theaters and TV commercials.  

Harris’s TV credits, besides Seinfeld, included Law & Order, Night Court, Mad About You and ER

Harris voiced Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story film franchise. Her long list of film credits also include Out to Sea, Brother Bear and My Giant. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.