Her death was announced on Tuesday (25 January) by her agents, who announced that Kates had died on Saturday (22 January).
Remembering the US actor as a “powerful force of nature”, their statement read: “Kathryn has been our client for many years, and we have grown much closer to her in this last year since she knew of her cancer returning.
“She was always incredibly brave and wise and approached every role with the greatest of passion. She will be greatly missed.”
Kates appeared in the first episode of Orange is the New Black as the future mother-in-law of Piper (Taylor Schilling), a young woman who ends up in prison for previous drug smuggling offences.
Kates was also known for roles in series including Matlock and Thunder Alley, as well as the Sopranos spin-off film The Many Saints Of Newark.
Last year, she won the award for Best Actress at the NYCTV Festival for her role on Welcome to Sarajevo.
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