Mad About You Mom Cynthia Harris Is Dead At 87

Sylvia Buchman in elevator on mad about you
(Image credit: Amazon)

Cynthia Harris, who was best known for playing Paul Reiser’s mother, Sylvia Buchman, in Mad About You, has died at the age of 87. 

The actress and entertainer's death was announced by her family. Cynthia Harris died on Sunday, October 3. No details have been disclosed about the nature of her death. 

Being known for her diverse work in television, film and on the stage, Cynthia Harris will be greatly missed for her over fifty years of work in projects also including Edward & Mrs. Simpson, 1987’s Three Men and a Baby and 1991’s Mannequin: On The Move

Harris is survived by her partner Nathan Silverstein, her devoted assistant Terrence Mintern, her brother Matthew, sister-in-law Maryjane and nieces and nephews. disclosed the news after her family made the announcement, a few days following her passing.

Cynthia Harris was born in New York City on August 9, 1934. She began performing on the stage as early as 12 years old before graduating with a degree in theater and literature at the Massachusetts’ private liberal arts women’s college Smith College in 1955. She was married to a company manager and Broadway producer Eugene Wolsk from 1961 until they divorced in 1972. 

She starred alongside Barbara Streisand in 1972’s Up The Sandbox and a regular role in Joan Rivers’ series Husband, Wives & Lovers Harris in the ‘70s as well. Harris returned to the Big Apple and famously played the role of Sara in the 1971 production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company

She played the role of American socialite and future Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Warfield Simpson in the 1978 ITV miniseries Edward & Mr. Simpson. The seven-part series earned the actress a BAFTA nomination and the show itself won an Emmy for outstanding limited series

Harris was a regular at television and radio commercials in the ‘70s as the bargain-hunting character of Mrs. B for department store chain Bradlees. In 1993, she co-founded the Actors Company Theater, where she was their artistic director and star of many of their productions. 

The late actress really found her wide-spread fame when she was cast to play Sylvia Buchman on the second season of Mad About You in 1993 as well. Cynthia Harris was memorably the classic Jewish mother alongside Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt and her TV husband, Louis Zorich’s Burt. She played Sylvia for 71 episodes for six years before recently returning to the role in 2019 for the Spectrum reboot.

Over the years, Cynthia Harris compiled 30 on-screen credits, including memorable guest appearances on shows like Laverne & Shirley, Murder, She Wrote, Three’s Company, Law & Order and The Geena Davis Show. We forward our condolences and deep sympathies for the family, friends and fans of Harris. Her legacy will live on through her work on television and film. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.