Hiram Kasten, Comedian and ‘Seinfeld’ Actor, Dead at 71

Hiram Kasten, a standup comic known for his guest roles on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm has died. He was 71.

After fighting multiple illnesses, including prostate cancer for seven years and Crohn’s disease for the duration of his life, the actor died in his home in Batavia, New York, on Sunday, June 16, per an obituary shared in his local newspaper, The Batavian.

The obituary revealed that Kasten kept quiet about his terminal diagnosis until just six months before his death.

His wife, Diane Kastenbaum, told the outlet that his “great comedy and artistic community rallied to his side” through in-person and Zoom visits, which she believes “prolonged his life for at least another two months.”

Hiram Kasten. Paul Zimmerman/Getty

Born in Bronx, New York, Kasten joined the city’s comedy scene in the 1970s. With dreams of becoming a comic, he set his sights on The Comic Strip where he met Jerry Seinfeld, who was the MC at the time. He passed Kasten after his first audition and the two went on to strike up a friendship that spanned 45 years.

The late comedian became a club regular and also became great friends with comedians Paul Reiser, Larry Miller, and Mark Schiff.

In the late ’80s, Kasten made his move to Los Angeles where he got a part in a pilot for CBS’ Dr. Paradise with Frank Langella and Sally Kellerman. Eventually, he landed the role of Michael in Seinfeld, playing Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)’s co-worker.

Kasten went on to have guest starring roles in Mad About You, Saved by the Bell, 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, Yes, Dear “Cybill, L.A. Law and more.

The late standup is survived by his wife and their daughter Millicent Jade Kastenbaum. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Kevin John Kisiel, as well as his many nieces, nephews and cousins.

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Kasten’s funeral will be held at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffers Memorial Chapel in Forest Hills, New York with a memorial service to be held in Los Angeles later this summer. The actor’s family has asked that fans and other loved ones make a charitable donation to Crossroads House or the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) in place of a memorial tribute.

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