Len Lesser, the character actor who despite decades of TV and movie roles is known the world over for his seminal work as Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo, has passed away from cancer-related pneumonia at the age of 88. “I’ll never forget when Uncle Leo was in prison and tattooed ‘Jerry Hello’ on his knuckles,” Jerry Seinfeld says in a statement, adding that Lesser was one of the cast’s favorites and that he was “a very sweet guy.” Lesser died in California but was a New Yorker through and through. He was born in the Bronx, earned a degree in economics and government at City College of New York, and, like a true New York Jew, possessed an expansive knowledge of chopped liver. “It should be made with chicken livers, you know,” he explained to a reporter from the Phoenix New Times in 2001. “Oh, yeah, then it’s delicious, rich. It’s a different flavor than beef liver, calf’s liver. But chicken livers are very expensive.”
As we say good-bye to Len Lesser, let’s never forget … hello.