Uncle Leo

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Uncle Leo
First appearance The Pony Remark (1991)
Last appearance The Finale Part II (1998)
Created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.
Portrayed by Len Lesser
Information
Occupation Retired
Family Helen Seinfeld (sister)
Nana (mother)
Father (deceased)
Spouse(s) Stella (separated)
Significant other(s) Lydia (separated)
Children Jeffrey (son)
Relatives Jerry Seinfeld (nephew)
Unnamed niece

Uncle Leo is a fictional character portrayed by Len Lesser in 15 episodes of the American sitcom Seinfeld. He is Jerry Seinfeld's uncle and Helen Seinfeld's brother.

Character[edit]

Uncle Leo is very eccentric. When coming across Jerry, he exclaims his catchphrase, "Jerry! Hello!" with his arms wide open[1] (when Jerry has a Cape Fear-esque nightmare about him in "The Bookstore," Leo has the word "Jerry" tattooed on the fingers of his right hand and "Hello" on the fingers of his left one[2]). He often brags about his son (Jerry's cousin Jeffrey, who never appears on the show) and his various accomplishments while working in the Parks Department. Leo is very sensitive about greetings—when Jerry once avoided saying "hello" to Leo on the street, he was offended and complained to Jerry's mother.

Uncle Leo's last name is never revealed. In an episode where Leo signs for a package of Jerry's, he actually signs it "Uncle Leo". In "The Bookstore", Jerry mentions "Leo" to Kramer. Kramer is initially confused, but upon remembering he says, "Oh, yeah. Right. Uncle Leo. Forgot his first name."

Uncle Leo is retired. His wife Stella is seen in "The Pen," but in "The Shower Head" he dates a woman named Lydia. He breaks up with her because Jerry commented (on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) on Leo's paranoid obsession with antisemitism in ridiculous contexts, such as claiming that a cook is antisemitic for overcooking his hamburger, and Lydia found Jerry's comments funny (he accused her of being antisemitic as well). However, he resumes the relationship later in the episode. Neither Stella nor Lydia are mentioned in other episodes.

In "The Bookstore," Jerry catches Uncle Leo in the act of shoplifting at a local bookstore thereafter confronting him about it. Leo maintains that seniors have the upper hand since they can claim senility; he also reminds Jerry to always greet him "Hello" no matter how awkward the situation.[2] Jerry later unintentionally gets Leo arrested by "bookstore police" after Leo attempts yet another shoplift. During this episode, we learn that Uncle Leo has a criminal record related to a "crime of passion."

In "The Package," Leo receives a package for Jerry that Jerry seems to think looks suspicious. Jerry suspects the package could contain a bomb, so he encourages Leo to open the package. This happens over the phone, and Jerry hears a loud explosion once Leo agrees to open the box. Except for having his eyebrows and moustache burnt off, Leo was unharmed. The package was not the cause of the explosion, as Leo had left a can of oven cleaner in the oven which then exploded when he went to talk to Jerry on the phone.

When talking to people, he has a tendency to grab the person's arm (often uncomfortably) and hold them close.[3] In "The Pony Remark", Jerry guessed that this was because so many people have walked away from him in the middle of his conversation.

Appearances[edit]

The character appears in a total of fifteen episodes.

Season Two
Season Three
Season Four
Season Five
Season Six
Season Seven
Season Eight
Season Nine

Character legacy[edit]

Len Lesser carried some of Uncle Leo's traits, especially the overly excited greeting manners, to his character Garvin on Everybody Loves Raymond.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (February 17, 2011). "Uncle Leo Dies". People magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Soraya (February 17, 2011). "Len Lesser, Uncle Leo actor, was 'one of our favorites,' says Jerry Seinfeld". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (February 17, 2011). "R.I.P. Len Lesser, Seinfeld's Uncle Leo". The AV Club. Retrieved September 24, 2011.