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Every obituary I've read of Frank Potenza invariably includes the word "beloved" in the opening paragraph. It's a privilege to echo the sentiment and follow the flock for a change.

Earnestly blithe former New York City cop, Frank Potenza, best know as Uncle Frank on his nephew Jimmy Kimmel's late night talk show, has mangled his last syllable. He died peacefully in a hospital Tuesday morning at age 77.


Not since the passing of former Letterman flunky Calvert DeForest (aka Larry 'Bud' Melman) has an unlikely celebrity sidekick expressed such an innate inability to memorize lines, read off cue cards, and display proper mike handling technique. You never knew what you were going to get with Uncle Frank, and he always delivered.

After a stint in the Korean War, Uncle Frank joined New York's Finest where he pounded a lower Manhattan beat for two decades. Kimmel told the New York Daily News his uncle later worked security at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on a special detail that regularly guarded Frank Sinatra. Before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a fixture on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, the saintly Uncle Frank worked as a security guard at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Kimmel Tweeted the following: "Thank you for your kind words about a very kind man. RIP Uncle Frank, his comic timing took a lifetime to earn. Today I eat cake for him."

Uncle Frank is survived by his wife, Concetta Potenza, three daughters, and 7-month-old granddaughter Franki, named in his honor.


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Colonna Aug. 24, 2011 @ 1:08 p.m.

Why couldn't it have been Jay Leno and not Uncle Frank?

Wait, Leno died in 2009, was buried at 10 PM, and then, in saviour life fashion, rose from the dead to take the Tonight Show away from Conan.

Rest in peace Uncle Frank - in your short time on the air, you were infinitely funnier than Leno was in his entire career.


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