There was once a time in Hollywood where binge worthy shows simply revolved around doing what humans do best: living. We’ve seen several lighthearted sitcoms in the past that follows the daily lives of “average joes,” such as Girlfriends and The Nanny. Unfortunately, it’s not everyday that we get the average TV storyline without a sprinkle of trauma porn. On the other hand, we can always rely on reruns of timeless episodes of shows like Seinfeld to remind us just what it’s like to exist.
Nine seasons and 180 episodes later, Seinfeld remains a hit in pop culture since its initial airing in 1989. Additionally, the comedy appears on several lists as one of the greatest television shows of all time. For those living under a rock, Seinfeld is a fictionalized story based on actor Jerry Seinfeld. Co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Kramer, the iconic foursome provided viewers with several laughs and random scenarios. Since the show’s controversial finale in May 1998, we’ve experienced the loss of a few iconic cast members. Keep scrolling to find out which Seinfeld stars are no longer with us.
Richard Herd (Mr. Wilhelm)
George Constanza is clearly not worthy of being employee of the month. From sleeping with his assistants to sleeping on the job, nobody was more confused by George’s outrageous work ethic more than his boss, Mr. Wilhelm. Much like Mr. Wilhelm, we all wondered how George avoided being fired. Although Mr. Wilhelm only appeared in 11 episodes of Seinfeld, he was best known for his facial expressions towards George, as well as his rather interesting cult kidnapping. The actor also appears in the show’s series finale, alongside Mr. Steinbrenner. Thanks to Richard Herd’s portrayal of the New York Yankees exec, we can all find him to be a quite relatable character in the workplace.
Per Variety, Herd tragically died in May 2020 of cancer complications. He was 87 at the time of his death. Herd is survived by his wife Patricia, his daughter Erica, son Rick and stepdaughter Alicia.
Ruth "Ruthie" Cohen
Sometimes, the small roles in a show can have a huge impact. Monk’s Cafe cashier Ruthie Cohen in Seinfeld is the perfect example of how important a small role could be. Although she wasn’t credited nor named, Ruthie appeared in 101 episodes of the show between 1992-1998, having the most appearances alongside the main cast. Often silent with few speaking lines, Ruthie easily became part of our everyday lives just as much as the cast. You may remember Ruthie being accused by George of stealing $20 he still had in his own wallet.
In addition to her recurring role on Seinfeld, actress Ruth Cohen starred in shows such as The Golden Girls and Murder She Wrote. She additionally made small appearances in shows such as NCIS and Malcolm in the Middle. In 2008, the New York native died of a heart attack in Panorama City, Calif. at the age of 78.
Warren Frost (Henry Ross)
Comedy is subjective, and sometimes even a little unconventional. Out of a number of strange characters and moments on Seinfeld, the most interesting is the origin of the Ross family. Susan Ross was briefly engaged to George Constanza before tragically dying from licking toxic wedding envelopes George chose to save money. As expected of Susan’s parents — played by Warren Frost and Grace Zabriskie —, they made it rather obvious that George was not the one for their daughter. Mr. Ross is also convinced that George ultimately killed his daughter. What makes Frost’s role as Mr. Ross so special is the arc of his secret affair with author John Cheever, making him one of the first bisexual characters in television history. The Twin Peaks alum who played Doc Hayward tragically died from a long illness in February 2017, per The Hollywood Reporter. He was 91 years old at the time of his death.
Jerry Stiller (Frank Constanza)
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when discussing George Constanza and his father Frank. Often erratic and dysfunctional like his son, Frank is just one of the many characters that have interesting personalities in their own right. From his affinity for TV Guide to his slick remarks, Jerry Stiller’s outstanding portrayal of Frank remained consistent in stealing every scene he was in and becoming the standout star. You may remember his catchphrase, “Do you want a piece of me?” Considering how important Frank is to Seinfeld, it’s shocking to believe that he only appeared in only 24 episodes. As if his Seinfeld career wasn’t already a flex, Stiller is also the father of actor Ben Stiller. In his lengthy career, the Zoolander star made us smile up until his death in May 2020. The actor died “of natural causes” at the age of 92.
Barney Martin (Morty Seinfeld)
Unlike Frank and George Constanza, father and son duo Jerry and Morty Seinfeld are polar opposites of each other. Fortunately, it doesn’t stop them from having odd exchanges with one another, such as one episode where Jerry buys Morty a Cadillac. Morty eventually gets impeached as president of the Del Boca Vista Homeowners Association after being accused of using funds to purchase the new car. In one episode, the two bicker about who will pay for the gas to fill Jerry’s car. Although Jerry and Morty are different from one another, they have one thing in common: they can’t stay out of daily trouble. The mastermind behind Morty’s character, Barney Martin, formerly served as a New York City cop for 20 years before entering show business, per The Sun Sentinel. Martin served also as a navigator in the Air Force during World War II. Martin died at 82 of cancer in March 2005.
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