Kathryn Kates, actress who appeared on ‘Seinfeld,’ dies at 73

Kates, who boasts over 70 screen credits on IMDb, is perhaps best known to TV audiences for her recurring role on “Seinfeld.” (Headline Talent Agency)

(NEXSTAR) – Actress and theater producer Kathyrn Kates, perhaps best known to TV audiences for her memorable roles on “Seinfeld” and “Orange Is the New Black,” has died at the age of 73.

Kates’ talent agency confirmed her passing in a statement shared with Nexstar.

“After a long, hard-fought battle with lung cancer, Kathryn passed away peacefully this past Saturday surrounded by her brother Josh, his wife Sue Ann and her sister Mallory,” Ben Jordan, a talent agent with Headline Talent Agency, said in an emailed statement.

Kates, who also enjoyed a long career producing plays in Los Angeles, boasts over 70 screen credits on IMDb, including roles on “Matlock,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Seinfeld,” appearing in the latter as a bakery clerk in “The Dinner Party” and “The Rye.”

“I had actually auditioned for them, I think, three times before,” she remembered of her time on “Seinfeld” in a 2021 episode of “This Podcast is Making Me Thirsty.”

“I walked in, and unlike most auditions, it was like (there were) bleacher seats, and everybody was in this room,” she said. “Jerry (Seinfeld) was in there, and Larry (David) was in there, and every other writer that ever worked on the show was in there, which … was kind of a shock.”

After she read for the role, Kates said Seinfeld only had one remark about her audition, which he yelled from his seat.

“’You’re gonna have to cough better than that!’” he told her, referring to her character’s habit of coughing near the bakery’s cinnamon babkas.

“So I did, I guess,” laughed Kates.

Kates also had a recurring role on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” and more recently appeared in “The Many Saints of Newark,” HBO’s prequel to “The Sopranos.”

“She was incredibly brave, thoughtful, wise and loving,” her agency added in its statement. “Kathryn approached every role she ever played, as well as her daily life with the greatest of passion. We will do our best to honor her incredible legacy. The world truly lost one of the good ones.”


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