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Seinfeld's Uncle Leo Len Lesser Passes Away At 88
Len Lesser was a staple in television and films for decades. A dedicated veteran, he left the service after World War II and was acting regularly by the mid-fifties. During that span, he appeared in everything from The Monkees to Get Smart to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but it took just fifteen episodes on Seinfeld to properly endear him to the American public.
Confused, concerned and obsessed with his son Jeffery, Uncle Leo was a man perpetually out of place. In time, he served both as Jerry’s foil and one of his greatest pawns. Easy to manipulate, he bent to his nephew’s whims, yet never quite acted as anyone suspected. There was the time he took the watch out of the trash can, and the time Jerry convinced him to get back on the prowl. Very few side characters could become household names with only a few episodes of work a season, but Uncle Leo was one of those characters. In fact, it’s astounding how many more facts I could tell you about him. He’s been arrested for shoplifting. He’s very suspicious of anti-Semitism. He’s highly bothered when people don’t greet him with a hello. His son works at the park’s department. He grabs people’s arms when they’re talking. He was arrested as a younger man for an untold crime of passion. I could go on. After George’s parents, Puddy, Newman and Bob Sacamano, Uncle Leo was probably my favorite Seinfeld side character. With his trademark “Hello! Jerry!” and those fuzzy eyebrows, Len Lesser’s portrayal always cracked me up.
After Seinfeld, Lesser continued acting in plays and had a notable supporting run on Everybody Loves Raymond. He died yesterday at the age of 88 from complications due to pneumonia. Cinema Blend’s thoughts go out to his family, as well as the millions that appreciated his work. He will truly be missed.
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