Cynthia Harris: US sitcom star dies age 87

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Cynthia Harris (left) as Sylvia Buchman in Mad About You  (NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
Cynthia Harris (left) as Sylvia Buchman in Mad About You (NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The US sitcom actress Cynthia Harris, who also starred as Wallis Simpson in the 1978 miniseries Edward And Mrs Simpson, has died at the age of 87.

Harris died on Sunday following a six-decade career taking in film, television and theatre.

In the UK, she was best known for portraying twice-divorced American socialite Simpson in the series about the events leading up to the 1936 abdication of King Edward VIII.

She also appeared in the US sitcom Mad About You, playing Paul Reiser's mother.

The news was announced by her family in the New York Times obituaries section.

A statement said: "She was an actor well known for her many roles on stage, screen and television. In addition to having devoted her life to the theatre she was active in many philanthropic causes.

"Most recently she was an artistic director of the Actors Company Theatre (TACT).

"Cynthia is survived by her loving partner Nathan Silverstein, her devoted assistant Terrence Mintern, her brother Dr Matthew Harris (Frances), her sister-in-law Maryjane Harris (brother David predeceased her) and many nieces and nephews.

"Cynthia's passing is a great loss for the dramatic arts and for all of us."

Harris was born in New York City in 1934 and studied theatre and literature at Smith College in Massachusetts before earning roles in television series and TV films, such as All My Children and Archie Bunker's Place.

She found wider success in the UK for her role in Edward And Mrs Simpson, the ITV drama broadcast in 1978, based on writer Frances Donaldson's biography of the king.

In 1993, she debuted as Sylvia Buchman, the Jewish mother and wife of Louis Zorich's character Burt, in Mad About You.

She appeared in the NBC sitcom during its original run, which ended in 1999, before returning for the show's reboot in 2019.

Harris also appeared on Broadway and earned a Bafta nomination for her performance in Edward And Mrs Simpson.

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