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Kathryn Kates, a native New Yorker and actress known for appearances on “Seinfeld,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Law & Order: SVU,” has died in Florida after a battle with cancer. She was 73.
Most recently seen as Angie DeCarlo in “The Sopranos” spin-off movie “The Many Saints of Newark,” the actress’ passing was confirmed by her reps Monday.
“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 announced Monday via Instagram.
“She loved this craft and had enough patience to fill 10 ships. A true icon. We will miss you.”
Kates relocated from her native New York to Los Angeles in 1974 to pursue her professional acting career. Once on the West Coast, she became an influential figure in the local theater scene, notably as a founder of the acclaimed Colony Theatre in Burbank, California, according to her official bio.
Kates went on to headline many of The Colony’s LA Drama Critics’ Circle award-winning productions, including Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles with Ed Harris. Over the decades, The Colony evolved from a small ensemble of actors into a well-established, award-winning, nationally-recognized theater, renowned for high-quality productions and listed in the Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac as one of “25 Notable US Theater Companies.”
In addition to roles in multiple regional tours and off-Broadway shows, Kates served as the main understudy for the 2017 Broadway production “Significant Other.”
Over her nearly five-decade career, the raven-haired beauty quickly racked up a sprawling television resume with parts in network series such as “Matlock,” “Caroline in the City,” “Rescue Me” and “Lizzie McGuire.”
She also played recurring roles in a string of recent TV hits: She was Amy Kanter-Bloom, Jason Biggs’ character’s mom in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” as well as another mom role in the Jennifer Lopez NBC cop drama “Shades of Blue,” and and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” in which she sat on the bench as Judge Marlene Simons.
However, to some fans will always be best remembered for guest star performances in two classic episodes of NBC’s “Seinfeld” — 1994’s “The Dinner Party” and 1996’s “The Rye.”
“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,” the veteran actress’ reps later told Deadline in a statement. “She was always incredibly brave and wise and approached every role with the greatest of passion. She will be greatly missed.”
Kates is survived by her sister, Mallory; her brother, Joshua; her sister-in-laws Sue Ann and Gloria, and her nephew Ben.