Kathryn Kates, a renowned actress who has performed in TV, theater and film since the mid 1970s, has died at the age of 73. Her representatives confirmed that Kate died Saturday after a struggle with lung cancer.

Kates was a much-loved character actress who has shown up in some of the best TV series of all time, including an iconic role in Seinfeld, plus stints on Law & Order: SVU and Orange Is The New Black. Along with almost three decades worth of TV credits, Kates was central in the theater communities of both Los Angeles and New York. She also recently had a supporting role in the long-awaited prequel of The SopranosThe Many Saints of Newark.

Kathryn Kates was born in 1948 in New York City, to Louis Kates and Madlyn Kates. Her mother Madlyn was also an actress who had a minor appearance in The Producers. Kathryn moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to pursue her dreams of acting.

Soon after moving there, Kates became one of the 25 founding members of The Colony Theatre, which would produce acclaimed theater in residence at The Studio Theatre for 25 years after. Kates was co-general manager of The Colony for its first six years, and even produced all plays that were staged at that time. Kates frequently performed alongside another Colony member John Larroquette, once joking that she’s the only actress to play “his mother, lover and wife.”


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After working for many years in Los Angeles, Kates moved back to New York City in 2006 and worked extensively in Off-Broadway theater and TV.

She is survived by her brother Josh and sister Mallory.

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