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26th Jan 2022

Orange is the New Black and Seinfeld star Kathryn Kates dies aged 73

Sarah McKenna Barry

She had been sick with cancer.

Actress Kathryn Kates, who had roles in Orange is the New Black and Seinfeld, has passed away at the age of 73.

A representative from her talent agency Headline announced the news of her death on Instagram.

They wrote: “Our mighty @kathrynkates has passed away.

“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.”

On the hugely popular Netflix prison drama Orange is the New Black, Kates played the mother of Piper Chapman’s (Taylor Schilling) former fiancé Larry (Jason Biggs).

She also acted in two episodes of Seinfeld, where she played the babka seller.

On top of these two major shows, Kates appeared in Matlock, Thunder Alley and The Many Saints of Newark, a Sopranos spin-off film.

Later in her career, Kates had roles in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CBS’s The Good Fight and Friends From College on Netflix.

Over on Twitter, many fans of her work posted tributes in her memory.

One wrote: “I am so upset to hear about the passing of Kathryn Kates, an actress of tremendous empathy, vigor and joy. She played “Sheyne” in the 2018 reading go my musical “Rubble Rubble.” She was so kind to me, and I always assumed we’d make something together again. I will miss her.”

Another penned: “Rest in Power Kathryn Kates. You were always a joy and lesson to watch work.”

A third tweeted: “The incredible @kathrynjkates passed away. Kathryn Kates was someone I knew via my daughter having worked with her & we kept in touch. I greatly admired her work & she knew it. I told her many times and I’m glad I did – outspoken, true, caring, memorable actress in every part.”