Seinfeld Actor Hiram Kasten Dies at Age 71

Seinfeld Actor Hiram Kasten Dies at Age 71

The entertainment world mourns the loss of Hiram Kasten, a beloved comedian and actor known for his roles in iconic sitcoms like “Seinfeld.” Kasten passed away at the age of 71 after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer and Crohn’s disease. His death occurred at his home in Batavia, New York, just hours after celebrating his 38th wedding anniversary with his wife, Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum.

Kasten’s career spanned several decades, beginning in the 1970s and 1980s when he became a fixture on the New York City comedy circuit. He was a regular performer at renowned comedy clubs such as The Comic Strip, where he first met Jerry Seinfeld, who was the master of ceremonies at the time. This meeting sparked a friendship that lasted 45 years. Kasten also performed at other notable venues like Catch a Rising Star, The Improv, The Comedy Cellar, Caroline’s, and Dangerfield’s, where he ran his own show every Sunday night for years.

In the late 1980s, Kasten moved to Los Angeles to further his acting career. He landed a role in the CBS pilot “Dr. Paradise” alongside Frank Langella and Sally Kellerman. His television career flourished with guest appearances on popular shows such as “Mad About You,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “7th Heaven,” “Brooklyn Bridge,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “My Wife and Kids,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “Cybill,” and “L.A. Law.”

Kasten is perhaps best known for his role as Michael, a colleague of Elaine Benes (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on “Seinfeld.” He appeared in three episodes of the show between 1993 and 1994. His portrayal of Michael left a lasting impression on fans of the series.

In addition to his television work, Kasten also had a successful stint in Las Vegas. He performed in “The Rat Pack is Back” at the Desert Inn, where he played Joey Bishop, adding a comedic element to the show. He continued to perform stand-up comedy on cruise ships, traveling the world on luxury liners such as Seabourn, Royal Viking, and Princess.

Despite his professional success, Kasten’s greatest joy came from his family. He is survived by his wife, Diana, who ran for Congress on the Democratic ticket in NY-27 in 2016, and their daughter, Millicent Jade Kastenbaum, an Assistant District Attorney. His obituary noted that his most satisfying role was that of a family man, and he took immense pride in his daughter’s achievements.

Kasten’s health began to decline in 2017, and he eventually stopped performing and actively pursuing his career. However, he kept the severity of his illnesses private, only sharing the terminal nature of his condition with friends in the last six months of his life. During this time, his comedy and artistic community rallied around him, with friends visiting him in Batavia and participating in late-night Zoom meetings that brought him joy and laughter.

Tributes poured in from friends and colleagues as news of his passing spread. The official “Curb Your Enthusiasm” account tweeted, “RIP Hiram Kasten. Larry David has used him consistently over the years,” highlighting his appearance in the 2001 episode “The Baptism.”

Kasten’s funeral services will be held at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffers Memorial Chapel in Forest Hills, New York, with a date and time to be announced. Burial will take place at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, New York. A memorial service is also planned for Los Angeles later this summer.

In lieu of flowers, Kasten’s family has requested that memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to Crossroads House or the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund).

Hiram Kasten’s legacy as a talented comedian and actor, as well as a devoted family man, will be remembered by all who knew and loved him. His ability to bring laughter and joy to audiences will be greatly missed.

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