Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial alongside her husband in 2013, has died at the age of 99 due to complications of pneumonia and COVID-19.

Lee passed away on December 18 at a hospice center in Port Jefferson, New York, her son Bruce Allen told the New York Times.  

Lee and her husband, Morty, earned unexpected fame after they appeared in a series of advertisements for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago. 

In an interview with Newsday on Thursday, Morty remembered his ‘very sweet’ and ‘conscientious’ wife.

Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial alongside her husband in 2013, has died at the age of 99 due to complications of pneumonia and COVID-19

Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial alongside her husband in 2013, has died at the age of 99 due to complications of pneumonia and COVID-19

Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial alongside her husband in 2013, has died at the age of 99 due to complications of pneumonia and COVID-19 

Lee and her husband, Morty, earned unexpected fame after they appeared in a series of advertisements for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago

Lee and her husband, Morty, earned unexpected fame after they appeared in a series of advertisements for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago

Lee and her husband, Morty, earned unexpected fame after they appeared in a series of advertisements for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago 

'She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years,' her husband gushed

'She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years,' her husband gushed

‘She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years,’ her husband gushed 

‘She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years,’ he gushed.

‘This is the way of life. It’s a long road and it’s got to come to an end somewhere and you just hope that it comes to a peaceful end.’

Before landing their roles in the commercial, the pair, who were both 91 at the time, had no acting experience. Lee had been a first grade teacher, and Morty owned a pharmacy.

In the ad, the couple opened their front door to find a box of Swiffer products waiting for them. Lee shared her excitement over how easy it was to dust while Morty sat in a chair nearby, yawning and eventually falling asleep.

After it aired, the Kaufmans were propelled into the spotlight and became an instant favorite among viewers.

They were even invited to appear on talk shows like The Ellen DeGeneres show and Good Morning America, growing familiar enough that they got recognized by strangers on the street. 

According to the Times, some fans wrote to newspapers begging to know that the Kaufmans were a real couple.

‘The couple who advertises Swiffer products is so adorable,’ wrote one. ‘Please tell us they really are married to each other!’

Lee had been a first grade teacher and Morty owned a pharmacy. Neither had any experience or interest in acting before the commercial

Lee had been a first grade teacher and Morty owned a pharmacy. Neither had any experience or interest in acting before the commercial

Lee had been a first grade teacher and Morty owned a pharmacy. Neither had any experience or interest in acting before the commercial

Frank Bele, creative director at the Publicis Kaplan Thaler advertising agency, cast the couple in the ad

Frank Bele, creative director at the Publicis Kaplan Thaler advertising agency, cast the couple in the ad

Frank Bele, creative director at the Publicis Kaplan Thaler advertising agency, cast the couple in the ad 

The ad showed Lee excitedly opening the cleaning products and putting them to work while Marty yawned and took a nap

The ad showed Lee excitedly opening the cleaning products and putting them to work while Marty yawned and took a nap

The ad showed Lee excitedly opening the cleaning products and putting them to work while Marty yawned and took a nap 

Lee was born on October 4, 1922, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She had a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and a master’s degree from Queens College.

She met Morty, who was the father of one of her summer school students, when he came in for a parent-teacher conference. They married in 1969.

After full careers, the couple landed a late-in-life gig with Swiffer after their daughter Myra learned that a casting director she knew was looking for an elderly couple for an upcoming campaign.

Frank Bele, creative director at the Publicis Kaplan Thaler advertising agency, told the New York Times in 2014 that the concept for the Swiffer commercial was part of a broader campaign that they called ‘the everyday effect.’

They wanted to use normal people, rather than actors, to show ‘how products improved lives in small ways.’ 

After meeting the Kaufmans, Frank said he fell in love with them right away and instantly cast them in the commercial.

They spent two days filming in their home in Valley Stream, with the couple engaging in ‘unscripted banter while trying out the products.’

They spent two days filming in their home, with the couple engaging in 'unscripted banter while trying out the products'

They spent two days filming in their home, with the couple engaging in 'unscripted banter while trying out the products'

They spent two days filming in their home, with the couple engaging in ‘unscripted banter while trying out the products’

After it aired, the couple was propelled into the spotlight - going viral on the internet, being invited to appear on talk shows, and even getting recognized by strangers on the street

After it aired, the couple was propelled into the spotlight - going viral on the internet, being invited to appear on talk shows, and even getting recognized by strangers on the street

After it aired, the couple was propelled into the spotlight – going viral on the internet, being invited to appear on talk shows, and even getting recognized by strangers on the street

Their authenticity, natural ability to make people laugh, and genuine love for one another captured viewers' hearts

Their authenticity, natural ability to make people laugh, and genuine love for one another captured viewers' hearts

Their authenticity, natural ability to make people laugh, and genuine love for one another captured viewers’ hearts

They then edited the footage down to a three-minute commercial.

Their authenticity, natural ability to make people laugh, and genuine love for one another captured viewers’ hearts.

‘It was charming that they were real and they weren’t actors and they were funny,’ Frank explained. ‘The stuff that came out of their mouths was gold.’  

Besides her husband and kids Bruce and Myra, Lee is also survived by the four children Morty brought to their marriage — Scott, Corinne, Warren, and Douglas — as well as five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

‘Mom never went out the door without commenting, “Oh, look at those flowers, look at those clouds, look at that beautiful blue sky,”‘ her son Bruce told New York Times.

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