Cynthia Lee Harris (August 9, 1934 – October 3, 2021) was an American film, television, and stage actress. She is best known for her roles in the television series Edward & Mrs. Simpson and the sitcom Mad About You.
Cynthia Lee Harris
August 9, 1934
New York City, U.S.
|Died||October 3, 2021 (aged 87)|
New York City, U.S.
(m. 1961; div. 1972)
|Partner(s)||Nathan Silverstein (her death, 2021)|
Life and careerEdit
Cynthia Harris was born in New York City in 1934, the daughter of Saul Harris, a businessman. Interested in the stage from a young age, she began studying theater at age 12 and graduated from Smith College in 1955 with a degree in theater and literature. Harris joined the Adams Memorial Theatre in Williamstown (in the same state on the campus of another college) where she performed in five summer seasons from 1955 to 1959. She then studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Harris also studied with George Morrison.
Harris appeared in such television series and TV movies, such as Archie Bunker's Place and All My Children. In Edward and Mrs. Simpson, she was cast as the Duchess of Windsor, which earned her a BAFTA Award nomination in 1979. For five seasons, she played "comic yenta mom" Sylvia Buchman on the sitcom Mad About You, a role she reprised in the show's 2019 limited series revival. For almost two decades, she played "Mrs. B." in television advertisements for the now-defunct department store chain Bradlees.
She made her Broadway debut as an understudy for the drama Natural Affection in 1963. In 1971, she appeared on Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, Company. In 1978, she received a BAFTA nomination for her performance as Wallis Simpson in Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978).
Harris was one of the co-artistic directors for the Off-Broadway company The Actors Company Theatre, which she co-founded in 1993. She appeared in numerous plays with the company, including Home, Bedroom Farce and Lost in Yonkers, portraying nearly four dozen characters over the course of her tenure with the group. In 2013, Harris appeared as Adriana in the Primary Stages production of The Tribute Artist.
- Isadora (1968)
- Up the Sandbox (1972)
- I Could Never Have Sex with Any Man Who Has So Little Regard for My Husband (1973)
- The Bob Newhart Show (1975)
- Sirota's Court (1976-1977)
- Edward and Mrs. Simpson (1978)
- Laverne & Shirley (1978)
- Husbands, Wives & Lovers (1979)
- Three's Company (1979)
- Hart to Hart (1980)
- Archie Bunker's Place (1981)
- Tempest (1982)
- Quincy, M.E. (1982)
- Reuben, Reuben (1983)
- L.A. Law (1986-1987) - recurring role
- Izzy and Moe (1987)
- Three Men and a Baby (1987)
- Everything's Relative (1987; 1 episode)
- Kate & Allie (1989)
- The Ann Jillian Show (1989-1990)
- Murder, She Wrote (1990; 1 episode)
- Mannequin Two: On the Move (1991)
- Law & Order (1991-1993; 1997)
- The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)
- Mad About You (1993-1999, 2019) - recurring role
- Murder, She Wrote (1994; 1 episode)
- All My Children (1994; Unknown episodes)
- Now and Again (1999)
- The Geena Davis Show (2000)
- An American Daughter (2000)
- Rescue Me (2004-2007)
- Barnes, Mike (October 6, 2021). "Cynthia Harris, Paul Reiser's Mom on 'Mad About You,' Dies at 87". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- "Cynthia Harris, actress who won a Bafta nomination for her portrayal of Wallis Simpson – obituary". The Telegraph. London. October 11, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
- "Cynthia Harris – Timeline featuring TV shows and other highlights from her career and personal life". Bing. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Horwitz, Simi (March 21, 2012). "Cynthia Harris Finds Challenges in 'Lost in Yonkers'". Backstage. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Sepinwall, Alan (November 18, 2019). "'Mad About You' Revival: Banter, Bickering, and Boredom". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- "Can 'Mrs. B' bring Bradlees back?". South Coast Today. January 29, 1996. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Brantley, Ben (February 10, 2014). "We Have the Stars; We Want the House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Evans, Greg (October 6, 2021). "Cynthia Harris Dies: 'Mad About You' Actress Was 87". Deadline. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- "Cynthia Harris is Mad About the Berrie Center and Dr. Robin Goland". The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. Columbia University Medical Center. Archived from the original on October 12, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
- Haring, Bruce (October 3, 2019). "'Mad About You': Cynthia Harris To Reprise Role, Cloris Leachman Also Joins Revival Limited Series For Spectrum Originals". Deadline.