Estelle Harris turns 89 today. The veteran character actress is best known for her long-running recurring stint as Estelle Costanza, the overbearing mother of George Costanza, on Seinfeld, which ran from 1989 to 1998. But she also graced Star Trek, portraying the “Old Woman” in the unusually spiritual third-season Voyager episode “Sacred Ground,” which aired on October 20, 1996. The old woman was actually a projection of the Nechani Spirits, and Janeway’s interactions with the old woman perhaps helped Captain Janeway ease up on her hardocre devotion to scientific reason. Below are Seven Things You Should Know About Estelle Harris:
A New York Native
Harris was born in New York City to Ira and Anna Nussbaum, who ran a candy store.
She’s Still Performing
The actress is still working. She was most recently seen in the 2015 TV movie The Slice and reportedly will be heard once again as Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 4.
Sing It with Us
Harris pursued acting in earnest after her three children grew up, and she achieved early success in TV commercials, even logging 23 spots in a year at one point. One of her most-famous commercials found her energetically singing the praises of Handi-Wrap II. Come on, you remember the lyrics: “Oh, you ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that cling! Do-wrap, Do-wrap, Do-wrap…!”
Trek Connection #1
She portrayed the “Old Woman” who was actually a projection of the Nechani Spirits, in the unusually spiritual third-season Voyager episode “Sacred Ground,” which aired on October 20, 1996.
Trek Connection #2
She played a small role in the big-screen Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon comedy Out to Sea, which was released in 1997 and co-starred Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Brent Spiner as a control-freak cruise ship director.
Trek Connection #3
Harris’ Seinfeld son, Jason Alexander, is a huge Star Trek fan and he guest starred in the Voyager episode “Think Tank.”
You – or your kids – have probably heard Harris more than you’ve ever realized. She’s lent her trademark high-pitched voice to dozens of animated fims and shows beyond the Toy Story franchise. Those credits include Brother Bear, Timon & Pumba, The Wild Thornberrys, Mickey Mouse Works, Family Guy, Home on the Range, Teacher’s Pet, Kim Possible, Tarzan II, The Looney Tunes Show and Futurama.
Please join StarTrek.com in wishing Harris a joyous birthday.
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