On April 2, 2022, Hollywood mourned the loss of Seinfeld cast member Estelle Harris, who passed away at age of 93 due to natural causes. An outpouring of tributes quickly came out online from her fans and her peers, including from her onscreen son, Jason Alexander (better known on the iconic, long-running sitcom as George Costanza).
Now, we are doing our part to pay our respects to the beloved actress by recommending our picks for the best Estelle Harris movies and TV shows that are now available to watch on streaming, as a digital rental, or on physical media, in her honor. We will start with the aforementioned hit sitcom that made her a household name.
A modestly successful comedian (Jerry Seinfeld), his neurotic, lifelong best friend (Jason Alexander), his assertive former girlfriend (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and his eccentric apartment neighbor from across the hall (Michael Richards) endure a dizzying series of misadventures that range from relatively mundane to inexplicably surreal in New York City.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Many of the funniest moments from Seinfeld (especially those involving George Constanza), can be credited to Estelle Harris, who appeared as George’s mother (also named Estelle) in a total of 27 episodes of the the long-running, groundbreaking, NBC original comedy, which Jerry Seinfeld co-created with Larry David.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 7, Episode 9 (2009)
Seinfeld co-creator Larry David (starring as himself) proves just how similar he is to his TV counterpart, George Costanza, by constantly allowing his severe neuroses to negatively affect his life and those around him while living in Hollywood.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: In 2009, Estelle Harris made a guest appearance as herself, along with Larry David and the rest of the main Seinfeld cast members, to participate in a table read for a fictional reunion special on the ninth episode of Season 7 of Curb Your Enthusiasm - David’s partially improvised, long-running HBO original series (one of several improv comedy shows to watch streaming) that offers a highly dramatized look at his life.
Stream Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Buy Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 7, Episode 9 digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7 on DVD on Amazon (opens in new tab).
The Grand (2008)
A diverse assortment of strange, eccentric, problematic, and even downright pathetic individuals face off against each other in a high-stakes poker tournament.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Improvisation among the star-studded cast (including Woody Harrelson and even German filmmaker Werner Herzog) was also a crucial element in the making of The Grand - director Zak Penn’s 2008 faux documentary in which Estelle Harris starred as the mother of Chris Parnell’s character, with whom she lived with despite her poker player son’s supposed genius.
The Toy Story Movies (1999-2019)
On several occasions, a group of various “child’s playthings” are forced to break out from the toy chest to try rescue one of their own or fix other uproarious situations, all while struggling to keep their sentience a secret to their young owners.
Why they are worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: After her character was teased at the end of the first of the franchise movies, Estelle Harris joined the Toy Story voice cast of Pixar’s eldest and most acclaimed franchise as Mrs. Potato Head (along with comedy legend Don Rickles as her husband) in the 1999 sequel, Toy Story 2, and would reprise the role twice more in 2010’s Toy Story 3 and in Toy Story 4 in 2019.
Brother Bear (2003)
After he accidentally kills a bear, a young, Inuit warrior (future Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix) receives punishment for the act by being magically transformed into a bear himself, and his only chance to become human again lies in adopting his victim’s son: a precocious, lovable young cub - also one of the most annoying Disney sidekicks on record - named Koda (Jeremy Suarez).
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Voicing Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies launched a relatively prolific career in voice acting for Estelle Harris - which included a brief, but memorably funny, role in Disney’s 2003 animated movie, Brother Bear, as an elderly bear who recalls losing her husband in the past year, despite the fact that he proves himself to be alive seconds later.
Home On The Range (2004)
A diverse group of farm animals band together and try to hunt down and capture an outlaw cattle rustler so they can claim the reward, hoping that they will be able to save the beloved ranch that they call home.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Another memorably funny, and also more prominent, time that Estelle Harris voiced an animal character in an animated Disney movie came a year after the release of Brother Bear when she played an overzealous and slightly neurotic chicken named Audrey in Home on the Range - a fun little family flick also featuring the voice talents of Dame Judi Dench, Roseanne Barr, and Cuba Gooding Jr. as a horse who wants to be a hero.
Queer Duck: The Movie (2006)
Having been with his alligator life partner (Kevin Michael Richardson) for eighteen months, a proudly gay duck (Jim J. Bullock) begins to question the true nature of his sexuality after meeting, and becoming unexpectedly charmed by, a Broadway show-loving, female buzzard (Jackie Hoffman).
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: A time that Estelle Harris voiced an animal character in an animated flick that is not quite as family-friendly was when she reprised her role as Mrs. Duckstein, the mother of the title character of the animated series of shorts, Queer Duck (created by The Simpsons writer Mike Reiss), in its feature-length spin-off from 2006.
The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody (2005-2008)
A rebellious preteen boy (Dylan Sprouse) and his comparatively more mild-mannered twin brother (future Riverdale cast member Cole Sprouse) constantly get in trouble with their adult peers while living at a luxury hotel where their mother (Kim Rhodes) works as an in-house entertainer.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Estelle Harris would also lend her voice to a few animated Disney Channel original TV shows - such as the medieval fantasy spoof Dave the Barbarian, and the iconic spy adventure, Kim Possible - but her most memorable role from one of the network’s most popular live-action series was on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as the Tipton Hotel’s boisterous veteran maid, Muriel.
Good Advice (2001)
After his womanizing ways and unethical business practices finally get the best of him, a disgraced former Wall Street stockbroker (Wall Street cast member Charlie Sheen) decides to make a living by secretly taking over his self-obsessed ex-girlfriend’s advice column, during which he begins to find himself falling in love with the column’s editor (Angie Harmon).
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: Estelle Harris plays a lovably outspoken character in the 2001 romantic comedy, Good Advice, along with a star-studded cast that also includes Denise Richards, Rosanna Arquette, and Jon Lovitz.
In the 1970s, a man (Alan Rickman) opens a club in New York with the intent to book musical artists that play County, Bluegrass, and Blues (hence the name “CBGB”), but his venue inadvertently becomes the birthplace of the underground punk rock movement when he can only book acts like Ramones, Blondie, The Police, and other hard core legends in the making.
Why it is worth checking out in memory of Estelle Harris: As CBGB founder Hilly Kristal’s mother, Bertha, Estelle Harris also was part of a star-studded cast (that also included Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry and Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome) in director and co-writer Randall Miller’s entertaining dramatization of the history of the legendary titular music venue.
CBGB also stars another celebrity who unfortunately passed recently - Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins in the role of iconic punk rocker Iggy Pop. On top of that, it was also one of the final acting credits of Alan Rickman before he passed in 2016. I suppose that, once you are done binging the previous titles in honor of Estelle Harris’ wonderful life and career, the historical music film could serve as a celebration of multiple beloved celebrities we have lost.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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