Kathryn Kates, 'Orange Is the New Black', 'Seinfeld' and 'SVU' Actress, Dead at 73

Kathryn Kates — a beloved character actress from shows like Orange Is the New Black, Seinfeld and SVU — has died at the age of 73. According to Deadline, Kates' representatives from Headline Talent Agency confirmed the sad news, revealing that Kates passed away after a fight with cancer. "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 company said 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' agent, Ben Jordan spoke with USA Today and shared that Kates died Saturday, "after a hard fought battle with lung cancer." He added, "She was a dear client and friend of ours." Erica Bines, another of Kates' agents, told the outlet that the actress "was surrounded by her incredible family when she peacefully passed." Bines added, "Losing her is heartbreaking, but there's no doubt that her immense talent will live on for generations to come." Kates' manager, Bob McGowan, issued a brief statement as well, saying, "My heart is broken, she was the best, an angel. The entire time she was sick, she never complained."

A native New Yorker, Kates had a long and illustrious acting career, appearing in numerous films and TV shows, such as Lizzie McGuire, Friends from College, and Shades of Blue. Most recently, she appeared as Angie DeCarlo in the 2021 film The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos. According to IMDB, Kates' final role was in the film Maybe There's a Tree, which is listed as having completed filming, but no release info is available.

Many of Kates' fans and peers have taken to social media to memorialize the star, in the wake of her death. "I am so upset to hear about the passing of Kathryn Kates, an actress of tremendous empathy, vigor and joy," playwright Dan Fishback tweeted. "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." 

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Elle Jones, of the Elle Jones Casting Company, added, "The incredible [Kathryn Kates] 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." Kates is survived by her sister, Mallory, and brother, Joshua, sister-in-laws Sue Ann and Gloria and nephew Ben.