Kathryn Kates, Actress of ‘Seinfeld’ Babka Fame, Dies at 73

Kathryn Kates, Actress of ‘Seinfeld’ Babka Fame, Dies at 73

Kathryn Kates, who appeared as a counterwoman in two memorable scenes from “Seinfeld” involving baked items briefly provide — chocolate babkas and marble rye bread — and racked up quite a few display credit over almost 50 years, died on Jan. 22 at her brother’s residence in Lake Price, Fla. She was 73.

The trigger was lung most cancers, the brother, Josh Kates, stated.

Ms. Kates, who lived in Manhattan, had roles in dozens of tv reveals and flicks, together with the current sequence “Shades of Blue” on NBC, “Associates From School” on Netflix and “The Good Combat” om CBS.

She appeared in 5 episodes of “Regulation and Order” — a fixture on the résumé of most New York working actors — as Choose Marlene Simmons. She additionally had a recurring position in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” because the mom of Jason Biggs’s character, Larry Bloom. And he or she was solid as Angie DeCarlo, an Italian magnificence store proprietor, in “The Many Saints of Newark” (2021), the prequel film to “The Sopranos.”

Nevertheless it was in two episodes of “Seinfeld” (1990-1998) that she made an indelible mark.

Sporting a yellow apron and a New York angle, Ms. Kates appeared in Season 5’s “The Dinner Get together” because the bakery clerk who pronounces to Jerry and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) that the shop’s final treasured chocolate babka had been offered simply forward of them. Supplied a cinnamon babka as a substitute, Elaine calls it a “lesser” babka, to which Jerry objects, intoning, “Cinnamon takes a again seat to no babka.”

The scene features a memorable coughing match by Ms. Kates’s character subsequent to a wall of baked items and her closing traces to a loitering Jerry and Elaine: “Can I get you anything? How a few good field of ‘scram’?”

The episode additionally options Jerry’s exaltation of one other New York bakery mainstay, the black and white cookie, as one thing of a mannequin for higher race relations. “Look to the cookie!” he declares.

In an interview final yr with “This Podcast Is Making Me Thirsty,” a podcast about “Seinfeld,” Ms. Kates recalled getting the half for which individuals would acknowledge her on Manhattan streets for many years.

The entire writing workers, together with Mr. Seinfeld and the present’s co-creator, Larry David, watched as she learn her traces and delivered her cough in an audition. She had earlier auditioned for different small elements on “Seinfeld,” however the brassy counterwoman was her fortunate break.

Two seasons later, Ms. Kates, once more in her yellow apron, reprised the position within the episode “The Rye.” This time she tells a crestfallen Jerry that the bakery’s final loaf of marble rye has been offered, complicating a plot to revive George into the nice graces of his future in-laws.

Ms. Kates devoted a lot of her time to working The Colony Theater in Burbank, Calif., of which she was a founding member. There, she and the actress Barbara Beckley had been co-general managers from 1975 to 1981. She appeared in quite a few Colony productions.

“Kathy was New York via and thru,” Ms Beckley stated. “She did some great roles with us.” However she added: “She was not a number one girl. She was rather more of a younger character actress, and never a Hollywood kind in any respect.”

Kathryn Jane Kates was born Jan. 29, 1948, in Queens. Her father, Louis Kates, was an electronics engineer. Her mom, Sylvia (Fagan) Kates, was an actress who, underneath the stage identify Madelyn Cates, appeared on tv within the hospital drama “St. Elsewhere” and the sequence “Fame” and performed the eccentric concierge confronting Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) within the 1967 movie model of “The Producers.”

Ms. Kates grew up in Nice Neck, N.Y., on Lengthy Island, and graduated from Nice Neck North Senior Excessive. She studied appearing at New York College.

After graduating in 1971, she moved to Los Angeles in 1974 and centered on theater. Her early tv credit included appearances on the authorized drama “Matlock” in 1991 and different cameo roles in “Rachel Gunn, R.N.” and “Hudson Road.”

In 1993, she married Joseph Pershes, an government at a video distribution firm. They divorced in 2006. Along with her brother, she is survived by a sister, Mallory Kates.

When requested within the podcast interview about showing on “Seinfeld,” Ms. Kates responded that she was at all times grateful to have work. “I’ve beloved each job I’ve ever had,” she stated.

And as for her babka choice? She favored chocolate.

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