LOS ANGELES, Calif. –“RIP — Frank Potenza, better known to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” fans as Uncle Frank, died Tuesday at the age of 77, People.com reported.
The cause of his death was not reported.
“It is with great sadness that the staff and crew of Jimmy Kimmel Live! mourn the loss of ‘Uncle Frank’ Potenza,” ABC said in a statement.
Kimmel, whose show is on hiatus until next month, Tweeted, “thank you for your kind words about a very kind man – my Uncle Frank – who passed away this morning.”
“During his nine-year run on-air, ‘Uncle Frank’ contributed many great moments to Jimmy Kimmel Live!,'” the show said in a statement. “He was beloved by his co-workers and considered an Uncle to all. His kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched.”
“Uncle Frank would want all of you to keep in mind, its safety first. You can never be too safe.” Nephew Jonathan Kimmel told the Daily News, echoing his uncle’s catchphrase.
Potenza, a Korean War Veteran, served as a police officer with the NYPD for 20-years prior to joining his nephew Jimmy on his late-night ABC talk show.
He also worked for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as a personal security for singer Frank Sinatra, according to nephew Jonathan Kimmel.
In 2003, Jimmy Kimmel asked Potenza moved to Los Angeles to join his then upstart talk show as a security guard and on-air contributor.
Potenza, a Brooklyn native is also survived by his 7-month old granddaughter Franki, named in his honor.
A private family service will be held Friday in Las Vegas. A memorial service is planned for Labor Day weekend.[postvideo src=”1JZoXX5BrNA”] Tags: ABC, death, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel's Uncle Frank Potenza Dies at 77, Las Vegas, Late-night talk show, RIP, Television