Kathryn Kates

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Kathryn Kates
Kates in 2013
Born(1948-01-29)January 29, 1948
Queens, New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 22, 2022(2022-01-22) (aged 73)
Lake Worth, Florida, U.S.
Years active1974–2022

Kathryn Jane Kates (January 29, 1948 – January 22, 2022) was an American actress. She was known for appearances on Seinfeld in the episodes "The Rye"[1] and "The Dinner Party."[2] She also appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Orange Is the New Black, The Many Saints of Newark among other roles in television and film. Kates also has many off-Broadway credits.

Early life and career[edit]

Kathryn Jane Kates was born in New York City on January 29, 1948. Her father, Louis Kates, was an electronics engineer. Her mother, Sylvia Kates, was an actress who worked under the stage name Madelyn Cates. Kathryn Kates graduated from Great Neck North Senior High School in 1967. She graduated from Tisch School of the arts at New York University in 1971. Ms. Kates moved to Los Angeles in 1974 Where she began her acting career.[3] She is one of 25 actors who are founding members of The Colony Theatre,[4] at The Studio Theatre in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. Kates, was co-general manager with Barbara Beckley of The Colony from 1975 to 1981. Kates and Beckley produced all of the company's plays during those years. Kathryn Kates played opposite John Larroquette as his mother, lover, and wife: as his mother in Enter Laughing (Cast Theatre, 1974); as his wife in A Company of Wayward Saints (Colony Theatre 1978);[5] and as his lover in The Lady's Not For Burning (Colony Theatre, 1979).[6] Kates also appeared in many of The Colony Theater's L.A. Drama Critics' Circle award-winning productions such as The Grapes of Wrath[7] and The Martian Chronicles.

Later career[edit]

Kathryn Kates
Kathryn Kates

One of Kates's most memorable roles was her recurring appearance on Seinfeld as The Counter Woman in the episodes "The Dinner Party" (1994)[2] and "The Rye" (1996).[1] Other recurring roles have been on the Disney series Lizzie McGuire as Mrs. Carrabino ("You're a Good Man, Lizzie McGuire",[citation needed] 2002 and "My Fair Larry", 2003),[citation needed] on Pam Am (2011) as Mrs. Luckovich,[citation needed] as June Starr in Judging Amy[citation needed] (2003), as Ginny in Caroline in the City, as Mrs. Bowman in Hudson Street (1996), and as Mable Maloney in a two-part Matlock, "The Witness Killings" (1991). Kates had a recurring role in the Orange Is the New Black. She was a series lead in the CBS/Showtime pilot Gurland on Gurland, playing Myrna Birnbaum. She also appeared in Reggie Rock Bythewood's pilot for the BET network, Gun Hill, as Bora.

Kates worked in film, for director Daryl Wein in Lola Versus, and for Paul Moshe Mones in Dovid Moyer as Odel, the Orthodox cook. She also worked with Don Siegel (in Jinxed!,[8]) and Lamont Johnson in the television movie Life of The Party: The Story of Beatrice (1982). She won the Drama Logue Award for best actress for her role as Ruby in Marsha Norman's Getting Out (1982), and in 2010 received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the MITF in NYC for her work in Gray Matters as the high-powered agent, Miriam Berger (2010).[9]

Kathryn Kates
Kates with Judd Hirsch in Small Miracles.

After relocating to New York City in 2006, Kates appeared in over twenty off- and off-off-Broadway productions, and toured Europe (Bucharest, Sibiu and Stockholm) with Saviana Stanescu's Waxing West,[10] She was the Palestinian Aunt in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Food and Fadwa, on Theatre Row in Herman Kline's Midlife Crisis,[11] and, more recently starred along with Greg Mullavey and Gaby Hoffmann in The Last Seder. She was a company member of Daniel Talbott's Rising Phoenix Rep.[12]


Kates died of lung cancer at her brother's home in Lake Worth, Florida on January 22, 2022, a week short of turning 74.[3][13]


Film and television credits
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice Diedre TV movie - with Carol Burnett
1982 Jinxed! Miss Nina Film - with Bette Midler
1983 The Taming of the Shrew Player 4 Video
1990 Pastime Ethel Film
1991 Matlock Mabel Maloney Recurring role; 2 episodes
1991 Teenage Exorcist Maid Film
1992 Rachel Gunn, R.N. Episode: "Love Is Here to Stray"
1994 Thunder Alley Nurse #1 Episode: "Never Say Die"
1994–1996 Seinfeld[2] Counter Woman Episodes: "The Dinner Party", "The Rye"
1996 Hudson Street Mrs. Bowman Episode: "Having My Baby"
1997 The Nurse Marsha Harriman Film
1997 Asylum Nurse Taylor Film
1998 Caroline in the City Ginny Episode: "Caroline and the Little White Lies"
2002–2003 Lizzie McGuire Mrs. Carrabino 2 episodes
2003 Judging Amy June Starr Episode: "Into The Fire"
2003 10-8: Officers on Duty Mrs. Berman Episode: "The Wild Bunch"; uncredited
2008 Saveta's Gift Looba Short film
2009 Check-Up: From the Gently Twisted Life of Michael Kleinfeld Susan Kleinfeld Short film
2009 Out of the Fog Ludmilla Bashilevsky Film
2009 Lott Oh Gertrude Short film
2010 Rescue Me Older Woman Episode: "Sanctuary"
2011 Monkey Man Mrs. Howard Film
2011 Pan Am Mrs. Luckovich Episode: "Truth or Dare"
2011 Gun Hill Bora TV movie
2012 Lola Versus Woman at Restaurant Film
2013–2019 Orange Is the New Black Amy Kanter-Bloom 4 episodes
2014 Unforgettable Mary Garroto Episode: "Manhunt"
2016 Feed the Beast Ruth Cline 2 episodes
2016–2017 Shades of Blue Mrs. Saperstein 5 episodes
2017–2020 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Marlene Simons 5 episodes
2019 Friends from College Martha 2 episodes
2019 The Jesus Rolls Older Woman Film
2020 Hunters Hilda Hoffman Episode: "The Mourner's Kaddish"
2020 The Good Fight Amelia Diamond Episode: "The Gang Discovers Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein"
2021 The Many Saints of Newark Angie DeCarlo Film
2023 Extrapolations Mrs. Goldblatt 1 episode; posthumous release


  1. ^ a b "The Rye". Seinfeld Scripts. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "The Dinner Party". Seinfeld Scripts. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Williams, Annabelle (February 15, 2022). "Kathryn Kates, Actress of 'Seinfeld' Babka Fame, Dies at 73". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  4. ^ "Kathryn Kates". The Colony Theater Company. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  5. ^ "A Company of Wayward Saints". The Colony Theater Company. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Lady's Not For Burning". The Colony Theater Company. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "1980-1989 Awards". Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "Jinxed! (1982)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "The 2010 MITF Award Winners". midtownfestival.org. Archived from the original on July 3, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  10. ^ Hampton, Wilborn (April 17, 2007). "Go West, Young Woman (Ceausescu Ghosts Too)". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Gold, Daniel M. (August 15, 2011). "'Herman Kline's Midlife Crisis,' by Josh Koenigsberg - Review". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Company". Rising Phoenix Repertory. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Pederson, Erik. "Kathryn Kates Dies: 'Many Saints Of Newark', 'Seinfeld' & 'SVU' Actress Was 73". Deadline. Retrieved January 26, 2022.

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