Frank Potenza, the former New York policeman known as “Uncle Frank” in his comedy appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, passed away today. He was 77.
Potenza was a Korean War veteran as well as a former NYPD officer and Las Vegas security guard. Called “Uncle Frank” on the show, Potenza was Kimmel’s real-life uncle; Kimmel asked Potenza to join his talk show as a security guard and on-air contributor when it began its run in 2003. Potenza moved to Los Angeles to participate in his nephew’s show.
“Uncle Frank” was best known for his appearances alongside other show staffers — most notably, his recurring comic bits with fellow security guards Guillermo Rodriguez and Veatrice Rice. Potenza and his ex-wife Concetta, known as Aunt Chippy on the show, also frequently appeared in guest segments in which Kimmel sent them out to run bizarre errands or embark on unusual adventures like planking, being a lunch lady and giving televised reviews of the MTV’s Jersey Shore.
According to a statement from the show, Uncle Frank was “beloved by his co-workers and considered an uncle to all. “
He is survived by three daughters and a baby granddaughter.