‘Seinfeld’ Actor Passes Away After Quiet Cancer Battle


Known for his roles on popular shows like ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ and ‘Saved by the Bell,’ actor and comedian Hiram Kasten has passed away at the age of 71. His wife, Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum, confirmed his death on Facebook, revealing that he had been fighting a long battle with prostate cancer.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Kasten pursued his passion through a theater degree from CUNY’s Lehman College. Kasten’s acting career began in earnest with a role in Israel Horovitz’s play ‘Line’ at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre. However, it was his transition to stand-up comedy that marked the beginning of a significant chapter in his life. His first major break came when he was passed by none other than Jerry Seinfeld at The Comic Strip, a meet-up that would forge a friendship lasting over four decades.

Throughout the 1980s, Kasten became a staple of the New York comedy scene, performing regularly at venues like The Comic Strip and Catch a Rising Star. His style was reminiscent of vaudeville and the Rat Pack era, with a charisma that could pull an audience into his performances, making every show unique. Kasten’s move to Los Angeles in 1987 with his wife marked a new phase of his career, transitioning more into television. He secured roles in several influential TV series.


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His wife, Diana, remembered him as a loving father and husband, noting that his roles as a family man were perhaps the ones he cherished most. His daughter, Millicent Jade Kastenbaum, has followed in her father’s footsteps with a successful career as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan.

“In 2017, his health had taken a downturn and he no longer performed or actively pursued his career,” his wife wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “Never mentioning it to his friends, he carried on as usual over the phone and with trips to NY and LA. After seven years of fighting through a multitude of illnesses including prostate cancer and his lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease, he only began to share the terminality of it all with his friends in the last six months.”

“His great comedy and artistic community rallied to his side. Some made trips to Batavia to visit him, late night Zoom meetings with friends on both coasts ensued and went into the wee hours of the morning.”

His wife continued, “On his first Zoom, he held court. He loved it and was at the top of his game throwing down references of comedy history and recalling stories from the past. Diana said it prolonged his life for at least another two months to be able to laugh with his peers.”

Kasten is survived by his wife, his daughter, and a community of friends and relatives. His funeral services will be held at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffers Memorial Chapel in Forest Hills, New York, with a memorial service planned in Los Angeles later this summer.

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