Kathryn Kates, the actress who faound fame through roles on “Seinfeld,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Orange Is the New Black,” has died in Florida, her representatives announced Monday.
According to the New York Post, the 73-year-old had been battling cancer.
“Our mighty @officialkathrynkates has passed away. She will always be remembered and adored in our hearts as the powerful force of nature she was,” Headline Talent Agency said in an announcement on Instagram.
“She loved this craft and had enough patience to fill 10 ships. A true icon. We will miss you.”
Kates began her acting career by moving from New York City to Los Angeles in 1974, becoming a fixture in L.A.’s theater scene.
However, it was her repeat performances in “Seinfeld” as a grumpy bakery employee back in the 1990s that brought her to national attention.
RIP Kathryn Kates, who played the surly counter woman at a bakery in two classic Seinfeld episodes: The Dinner Party and The Rye. In The Dinner Party, she sells Jerry and Elaine a cinnamon babka. In The Rye, she informs Jerry that the marble ryes just sold out. pic.twitter.com/fiQE3pqfSZ
— Champagne Video Store (@Champagne_Video) January 26, 2022
She had other bit parts in series like “Caroline in the City,” “Lizzie McGuire,” “Matlock” and “Rescue Me.”
She found bigger roles in series like Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” she was the mother to Jason Biggs’ character. She would play another mom on the Jennifer Lopez NBC police drama “Shades of Blue.”
On “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” meanwhile, she played Judge Marlene Simons.
Her final appearance was in “The Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” which was released last year.
After her death was announced, the actress was remembered fondly by both fans and Hollywood insiders.
“Kathryn has been our client for many years, and we have grown much closer to her in this last year since she knew of her cancer returning,” Headline Talent Agency said in a statement.
“She was always incredibly brave and wise and approached every role with the greatest of passion. She will be greatly missed.”
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 of my musical “Rubble Rubble.” She was so kind to me, and I always assumed we’d make something together again. I will miss her. 💔 pic.twitter.com/BDM2UioX6r
— Long COVID Killjoy (@dangerfishback) January 23, 2022
“I am so upset to hear about the passing of Kathryn Kates, an actress of tremendous empathy, vigor and joy,” said one Twitter user, adding she’d read for a character in his 2018 musical.
“She was so kind to me, and I always assumed we’d make something together again. I will miss her.”
My lovely , lovely, funny , talented, beloved friend, Kathryn Kates has died, from cancer, shout out into the universe for her, I will forever miss her. pic.twitter.com/xMAnupb9OD
— Elizabeth West (@Limeylizzie) January 26, 2022
“My lovely, lovely, funny, talented, beloved friend, Kathryn Kates has died, from cancer, shout out into the universe for her, I will forever miss her,” actress Elizabeth West tweeted.
West is survived by two siblings, two sisters-in-law and a nephew.