Hiram Kasten, ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’ actor and comedian, dead at 71

Hiram Kasten wearing a yellow sweater and tan blazer onstage.
Comedian Hiram Kasten gained recognition in New York comedy clubs before making appearances in a plethora of beloved sitcoms.
(Brad Barket / Getty Images)
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Hiram Kasten, the New York comedian who gained popularity on sitcoms including “Seinfeld,” has died. He was 71.

Kasten died Sunday in the arms of his wife, Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum, in their New York home “only hours after their 38th wedding anniversary,” following a battle with prostate cancer and Crohn’s disease, according to an obituary published by the Batavian.

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Kasten, born Hiram Z. Kastenbaum on Oct. 30, 1952, was best known for his supporting role as Michael, Elaine Benes’ co-worker on “Seinfeld.” The comedian met Jerry Seinfeld while doing stand-up at the Comic Strip Live in New York City, where Seinfeld worked as the emcee. The comedians struck up “a friendship that has lasted for 45 years,” the obituary stated.


Kasten’s prolific run in the New York comedy scene included appearances at such clubs as the Improv, the Comedy Cellar, Caroline’s and Dangerfield’s.

Kasten also appeared on several other TV shows, including “Mad About You,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Saved by the Bell” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

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Kasten retired from the entertainment industry in 2017 as his health began to decline, but only revealed the severity of his diagnosis to friends only in the last six months. His “great comedy and artistic community rallied to his side,” his obituary states, and as “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.”

“It prolonged his life for at least another two months to be able to laugh with his peers,” Kastenbaum said.

He is survived by his wife and daughter, Millicent Jade.