Len Lesser, Seinfeld's Beloved Uncle Leo, Dies at 88

And so it goes that we must bid a fond adieu to Len Lesser, a.k.a. the talented character actor who played Uncle Leo for nine classic seasons of Seinfeld. Lesser passed away Wednesday at age 88, from cancer-related pneumonia. And though he may have only appeared in 15 episodes, his comic creation was indelible—an unkempt shoplifting enthusiast who was always thrilled to see you, grabbed your arm when he talked, and blamed anything he didn’t like on antisemitism. I don’t know about you, but my family had several Uncle Leos. (Maybe it’s a New Yorkish thing.)

A perusal of Lesser’s IMDb page reveals he’s been working steadily in TV since the dawn of the medium, debuting way back in 1949 (network broadcasting only began in ‘48) on Westinghouse Studio One. Through the years he appeared on such classics as The Munsters, Get Smart, Bonanza, and Kojak. But it wasn’t until the ‘90s, and a groundbreaking show about nothing, that Lesser would find a permanent and lasting place in the pop culture pantheon.

So, one last time for the road, we leave you with Uncle Leo—in all his avuncular, polyester-leisure-suit-wearing, “JARRY! HALLOOO!”-shouting glory. R.I.P.

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Ahhh... Uncle Leo. Well, he lived to a ripe out age, but Jerry was right, "You should cling to her like grim death, which is not far off, by the way."

Well, okay, it was a good two decades later, almost, but we all have to go some time. Anyway, I still often watch reruns of Seinfeld and just watched the one yesterday in which Uncle Leo is accusing everyone of being an anti-Semite, etc. Sorry to hear he's gone. RIP.
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Goodbye and RIP " Uncle Leo"
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One of my favorite parts on the show was actually only when Leo was mentioned but not featured, where George called Jerry from a pay phone or something and was rambling like a mad man about something, and Jerry humorously said, "Uncle Leo :P " ? And then George freaks and starts banging on the phone.
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Not many remember he also guest starred as one of Archie Bunker' s old army buddies on the first season All in the Family episode "Success Story."
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Aww, that's sad. Uncle Leo rocked! I hope they bury him with his watch. He wouldn't give it up for all the $$$ in the world. RIP, LL.
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That was the best clip you could come up with? He was a very funny actor. There's a good compilation clip of him as Garvin on Everybody Loves Raymond.
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sorry for the mistype i meant everybody loves Raymond.
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I didn't watch seinfield but I watched eveyboyd loves Raymon and he was on that. ray's here.. that was always funny how he got excited to see Ray.
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I remember a first-season episode The Wild Wild West, and it took me a couple minutes to realize why one of the henchmen looked kind of familiar: it was Uncle Leo (aka Len Lesser). Until recently, I don't think I knew what his actual name was.
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