Veteran character actor Len Lesser, best known for playing Jerry's eccentric Uncle Leo on Seinfeld, has died of cancer-related pneumonia at the age of 88. Lesser's 60-year TV career included parts in the Monkees, Get Smart, and the Rockford Files. Lesser, a native New Yorker and World War II vet, also appeared in films, including Kelly's Heroes and Birdman of Alcatraz, AP notes.
The comic timing Lesser displayed in Seinfeld—where he once explained to Jerry that all old people shoplift and feign confusion when caught—won him more cranky old man roles in shows, including Mad About You, Everybody Loves Raymond, and, most recently, Castle. "Heaven got a great comedian and actor today," his daughter Michele said in a statement. "The outpouring of sympathy we've already received has been amazing and is so greatly appreciated."