Cynthia Harris, Star of ‘Mad About You,’ Dies at 87

by Megan Molseed

Cynthia Harris, the actress who portrayed Paul Reiser’s mom on the NBC sitcom Mad About You passed away Sunday at the age of eighty-seven.

The family announced the loss early this week.

“In addition to having devoted her life to the theater show was active in many philanthropic causes,” Cynthia Harris’s family says of the late actress. “Cynthia’s passing is a great loss for the dramatic arts and for all of us.”

Further details related to Harris’s death have not yet been released.

Audiences Loved Cynthia Harris’s Portrayal of ‘Mad About You’s’ Sylvia Buchman

When Cynthia Harris was first introduced as Sylvia Buchman, Paul Buchman’s (Paul Reiser) prototypical overprotective Jewish mother on Mad About You, the actress had audiences raving.

Harris’s ability to nail the “judgemental mother-in-law” tone while still adoring her son’s wife, Jamie Buchman (Helen Hunt) in the most offensive of ways, had audiences in stitches.

During her run as Paul Buchman’s mother, Harris played alongside Louis Zorich; who portrayed Burt Buchman, Harris’s on-screen husband and Paul Buchman’s father in the hit series.

Cynthia Harris’s Sylvia Buchman made a total of seventy-one appearances during Mad About You’s original run from 1993.

Harris returned to the series during Mad About You’s 2019 reboot which aired on Amazon Prime.

Harris Knew She Had A Calling

Cynthia Harris was born in New York on August 9, 1934.

Harris has said that she knew from a very young age that acting was something she wanted to pursue.

“The only thing I ever wanted for my birthday from the time I was old enough to speak practically was, ‘I’d like to go see a play,’” the actress has said of her early interest in the profession.

At the age of twelve, Cynthia Harris began taking regular weekend theater classes. She graduated college with a degree in theater and literature. She later studied acting with George Morrison and Lee Strasberg.

In 1971, the popular actress got her start in the acting big leagues. Harris scored a role in the Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s hit play Company.

Cynthia Harris’s love of theater continued throughout the years. In 1993, the actress helped to develop the Actors Company theater.

During her years with this company, Harris played dual roles. Harris served as an artistic director in the company’s productions. As well as appeared in many of the plays presented by the theater.

Before her turn as Mad About You’s Sylvia Buchman, Cynthia Harris made a splash on the big screen as she joined Hollywood icons Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg in the wildly popular 1987 film Three Men and a Baby.

During her long career on stage, on the big screen, and on television, Harris has appeared in guest-starring roles in The Bob Newhart Show, Three’s CompanyKnots LandingBenson, and Archie Bunker’s Place.