Kathryn Kates, a veteran film, television and theater actor known for her roles on “Seinfeld,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Many Saints of Newark,” died Saturday, according to an Instagram post from her talent agency. She was 73.
“Our mighty @officialkathrynkates has passed away,” Headline Talent Agency wrote on Instagram. “She will always be remembered and adored in our hearts as the powerful force of nature she was. She loved this craft and had enough patience to fill 10 ships. A true icon. We will miss you.”
Kates began her career in 1974 after moving to Los Angeles from New York City, according to her website. Alongside actor John Larroquette, she was one of the 25 founding members of the Colony Theatre Company, then located in Silver Lake, where she produced and starred in plays including “The Grapes of Wrath” and “A Company of Wayward Saints.”
She later moved on to roles in film and television, including a recurring spot as the neighbor Mrs. Carrabino on “Lizzie McGuire” and as Jason Biggs’ mother on “Orange is the New Black.” She is also known for her role as the Counter Woman on “Seinfeld,” alongside actors Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Most recently, she played Angie DeCarlo in the “Sopranos” prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark” last year.
Her other roles include Mrs. Saperstein on “Shades of Blue” and Judge Marlene Simons on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
After moving back to New York in 2006, Kates performed in a number of plays, including a role as the Palestinian aunt in “Food and Fadwa” at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2012, in which Variety wrote Kates gave a “spirited perf of this tough widowed lady.”