Jewish Journal

Uncle Leo! Goodbye!!

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 16, 2011 | 11:47 pm

One of the many characters that made “Seinfeld” was Uncle Leo. My favorite scenes is shown above, in which Jerry reminds Leo what a disgusting old man he is and tells him he should take back his girlfriend. Uncle Leo objects: “She’s an antisemite.” To which Jerry responds: “Can you blame her?”

Leo was played by Len Lesser, who died today at 88. Reuters has this story. It references the above scene as one of Uncle Leo’s more memorable ones:

Although the television and movie veteran appeared in just 15 episodes of “Seinfeld,” his idiosyncratic character was a key ingredient in the offbeat tone of the 1990s sitcom.

His traits included a boisterous “Jerry! Hello!!” whenever he saw his comedian nephew, played by Seinfeld. His last name was never revealed, but everyone knew him as Uncle Leo.

In one episode, Uncle Leo accused a chef of being anti-Semitic because his hamburger was undercooked.

Lesser’s baldness and sharp visage were used to comic effect throughout the show. Jerry once labeled him an “Adonis,” who should be swinging. But he reversed course later in the same episode, declaring: “If there’s a woman that can take your presence for more than ten consecutive seconds, you should hang on to her like grim death. Which is not far off, by the way.”


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