The cast of Seinfeld are mourning the loss of Len Lesser, best known as "Uncle Leo" on the hit NBC sitcom, who died from cancer-related pneumonia at age 88 Wednesday.
recalls to the New York Daily News
an episode in which Uncle Leo is arrested after shoplifting a book. ("Jerry! Hello!" was Uncle Leo's slogan.)
"I'll never forget when Uncle Leo was in prison and tattooed 'Jerry Hello' on his knuckles," Seinfeld said in a statement.
Lesser - whose career ranged from film (Birdman of Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales) to television (The Rockford Files, ER, Everybody Loves Raymond) - was "a very sweet guy" and the cast "always loved having him on the show," Seinfeld added.
's Jason Alexander
echoed that sentiment on Twitter
: "Len was a tremendous guy. He was a smart actor/comedian who knew exactly what he was doing in the creation of Uncle Leo. I enjoyed many wonderful conversations with Len who was so openly grateful to be part of our show and so humble about his stunning contribution to it. I am so happy to have known him and my sympathies go to his family. But his was a fun life and he leaves many fans behind and many who will be enjoying his work for years to come."
Before his death, Lesser was working on a memoir, Where's the Watch? And other tales from Seinfeld's Uncle Leo. The book, which he worked on for a year with New York author Tama Ryder, is currently being shopped to publishers.
Lesser, a father of two, reportedly was divorced in 1982 after 28 years of marriage.
"Heaven got a great comedian and actor today," his daughter Michele said in a statement.