Kathryn Kates, star of Orange Is the New Black and Seinfield, has died aged 73

Kathryn Kates
(Image credit: Alamy)

Kathryn Kates, actress best-known for Orange Is the New Black and Seinfield has died from cancer aged 73.

News of the veteran star's death has sent a wave of sadness across Hollywood among co-stars, friends, and fans alike after her representatives at Headline Talent Agency confirmed to Deadline that Kathryn died on Saturday of cancer in Florida.

The statement read, “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.

"She was always incredibly brave and wise and approached every role with the greatest of passion. She will be greatly missed.”

There are lesser forms of cancer signs but it is unclear what type of cancer Kathryn died from, although the statement does confirm that she had battled cancer previously before it finally took her life.

Kathryn's glowing career includes starring in Law & Order: SVU and The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark.

She leaves behind her sister, Mallory, and brother, Joshua, sister-in-laws Sue Ann and Gloria, and nephew Ben.

A native New Yorker, by the mid-90s Kathryn was guesting on such series as Matlock, Thunder Alley, and Seinfeld. She appeared as a counter clerk in two episodes of the NBC juggernaut The Dinner Party (1994) and The Rye (1996).

Kathryn Kates, Kathryn Kates dies aged 73

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Ben Edelman, Sasha Diamond, Kathryn Kates and Brooks Brantly attend the Broadway Opening Night performance after party for "Significant Other" at the Redeye Grill on March 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)

She later would recur on a trio of popular series: Orange Is the New Black as Amy Kanter-Bloom, the mother of Piper Chapman’s ex-fiancé (Jason Biggs);

Jennifer Lopez drama Shades of Blue as Mrs. Saperstein, the mother of Detective David Saperstein (Santino Fontana); and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Judge Marlene Simons.

A playwriter paid tribute to her on Twitter. He 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 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. 💔 '

Kathryn once rubbed shoulders with Jennifer Aniston and shared the snap on her Instagram.

A photo posted by on

Meanwhile, after hearing the news that Kathryn Kates has died, one fan tweeted, 'We are 💔  to learn of the passing of Kathryn Kates. She made us laugh on two episodes of Seinfeld but leaves a legacy of kindness and humanity to all those she touched. RIP Kathryn'.

Another fan said, 'Rest in Power Kathryn Kates. You were always a joy and lesson to watch work.'

And a third fan added, '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.'

You can watch some clips of Katheryn in action on screen in the reel below...


Most recently, Kates appeared in last year’s short film Welcome to Sarajevo, for which she won Best Actress at the NYCTV Festival, and played Angie DeCarlo in David Chase’s The Many Saints of Newark.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)