Jerry Seinfeld Remembers Len Lesser (aka 'Uncle Leo')
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.
Jerry Seinfeld 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.
Seinfeld'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.