BURBANK, Calif. —- Actor Len Lesser, best known for his role as Jerry’s Uncle Leo on Seinfeld died from cancer-related pneumonia at a care facility in Burbank, Calif. Wednesday. He was 88.
“Heaven got a great comedian and actor today,” his daughter Michele said in a statement.
The New York native and World War II veteran began his acting career in 1949 and has appeared in the movies “Birdman of Alcatraz,” “Kelly’s Heroes,” “Papillon” and “The Outlaw of Josey Wales.”
However, it was his role as Jerry’s Uncle Leo on the NBC hit series “Seinfeld” that left an indelible mark on pop culture and where he and his catch phrase, “Jerry! Hello!” continues to live on in syndication.
Of Uncle Leo, Lesser told the Los Angeles Times in 1998: “He’s the kind of guy who is a total nuisance at times and the kind of guy you avoid. He’s a very expansive character, and that has an attraction to it.”
Besides the 1989-98 Seinfeld, other TV shows featuring Lesser included Get Smart, The Munsters, The Rockford Files, ER and Everybody Loves Raymond, on which he played a Leo-esque character named Garvin, a lodge brother of Raymond’s father Frank (Peter Boyle).
The actor’s daughter told TMZ that her dad was at peace at the time of his death. Funeral arraignment and services have yet to be announced.Tags: actor, death, Len Lesser, movie, RIP, Seinfeld, Television, Uncle Leo