Carol Ann Susi, best known for voicing Mrs. Wolowitz on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, died early Tuesday morning in Los Angeles of cancer. She was 62.
“The Big Bang Theory family has lost a beloved member today with the passing of Carol Ann Susi, who hilariously and memorably voiced the role of Mrs. Wolowitz,” read a statement from Warner Bros. Television and Big Bang Theory producers Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro and Bill Prady. “Unseen by viewers, the Mrs. Wolowitz character became a bit of a mystery throughout the show’s eight seasons. What was not a mystery, however, was Carol Ann’s immense talent and comedic timing, which were on display during each unforgettable appearance. In addition to her talent, Carol Ann was a constant source of joy and kindness to all. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with her family during this time, and we will miss her greatly.”
Her co-stars mourned her on social media.
Mrs. Wolowitz was rarely seen on-screen — though eagle-eyed viewers caught a glimpse of the pink-clad parent at Howard’s (Simon Helberg) wedding in the fifth season finale.
“The glimpse on the rooftop is all you’re going to get for now!” showrunner Molaro told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “Isn’t she better left to the imagination? There are no plans to actually see her on camera, and I think it’s probably better that way.”
It is unclear how Susi’s passing will impact the show, though it is worth noting Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) does a spot-on impression of her character. Mrs. Wolowitz has had a central storyline this season, in which the gang’s friend Stuart (Kevin Sussman) moves in with Mrs. Wolowitz to nurse her through her declining health. Howard becomes jealous, thinking Stuart has replaced him in his mother’s heart.
Susi grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Shortly after, she earned a spot as Kolchak’s secretary, Monique Marmelstein, on ABC’s The Night Stalker. Other credits include guest appearances on Cheers, Doogie Howser, M.D., Mad About You, Just Shoot Me, Seinfeld and Six Feet Under.
On the 1992 Seinfeld episode “The Boyfriend” (which famously features a guest-starring stint by New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez), Susi’s character, the daughter of an unemployment officer, goes out on a horrible date with George (Jason Alexander).
Susi also appeared in several Los Angeles theatrical productions, including Justin Tanner’s Heartbreak Help and Coyote Women, and she was in the original cast (with Lisa Kudrow) of Robin Schiff’s Ladies’ Room.
Susi is survived by her brother, Michael Susi, and his wife Connie, and many friends she considered to be family.