Hiram Kasten, New York comedian and “Seinfeld” actor, dies at 71

The stand-up stalwart also appeared on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and "Saved by the Bell."

Hiram Kasten, the New York-based stand-up comedian who also appeared on such TV shows as Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, died Sunday at 71.

An obituary posted to Kasten's Facebook page did not disclose a cause of death but noted that he dealt with several health issues in his final years, including prostate cancer and Crohn's disease.

Born Hiram Z. Kastenbaum in the Bronx in 1952, Kasten studied theater at CUNY's Lehman College and joined the cast of Israel Horovitz's Line revival in 1974. He began performing comedy in the 1970s at the Upper East Side jazz club Pearl's Place before making his way to the Comic Strip, where he befriended emcee Jerry Seinfeld.

<p>Brad Barket/Getty</p> Hiram Kasten in 2013

Brad Barket/Getty

Hiram Kasten in 2013

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Kasten later took over as the emcee at the Comic Strip, and also became a regular at clubs like Catch a Rising Star and Dangerfield's in the 1980s. He married Diana Kisiel, whom he met while she was working as a waitress at the Big Apple, in 1986. The couple moved to Los Angeles to pursue further comedy and television opportunities, and welcomed a daughter, Millicent.

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The comedian's most notable TV project was Seinfeld, on which he played Michael, a co-worker of Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), for three episodes. Kasten also acted in a 2001 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and made one-episode appearances on shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Mad About You, and Saved by the Bell. He performed in the live show The Rat Pack Is Back at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas — a gig that he landed after impressing the producers during a roast of Mike Rowe — and went on to perform stand-up on luxury cruise lines.

Kasten dialed back his performing career when his health began to decline in 2017, though he only told his friends about the severity of his illness six months before his death. He is survived by his wife and daughter. His family has asked that memorial donations be made to Crossroads House and the Entertainment Community Fund.

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