Stephen Lee, a supporting actor on a number of shows but namely Seinfeld, died this week, leaving a void in the Seinfeld universe that will never be filled.
In the episode where George builds a nap area under his desk, Lee played the part of Conrad, a finicky handyman entrusted to finish the job.
His inability to make a decision on his own becomes annoying to both Jerry and George. The loss of Stephen Lee reminds us of five other Seinfeld supporting characters that we no longer have with us. Young or old, each one is gone too soon.
5. Uncle Leo, Played By Len Lesser
The lovable Uncle Leo, who always had to have a “Hel-looooo!” from nephew Jerry was once a leaner and meaner guy, often playing a heavy in films. (The Outlaw Josey Wales, to name one.) Lesser died in 2011 at the age of 88, but not before co-starring in such classic Seinfeld episodes as “The Pony Remark,” “The Glasses,” and “The Pen.”
4. Vivian, Played By Kellie Waymire
Waymire played Elaine’s friend Vivian in “The Blood,” a later Seinfeld episode in which Elaine worries that she will have to take care of Vivian’s child if something should happen to her after a health condition arises. Unfortunately, in real life, Waymire suffered from an undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia and died of cardiac arrest at the age of 36. She also starred as Elizabeth Cutler on Star Trek: Enterprise.
3. Morty Seinfeld, Played By Barney Martin
Martin was brilliant as Jerry’s father after replacing the original actor from one episode in the early seasons. Martin made the role his own, and it’s hard to envision anyone else as Jerry’s dad. He died at age 82 after a bout with lung cancer.
2. Mugging Victim, Played By John Pinette
Pinette died in April, and while he won’t be immediately recognizable by name only, he did play a pivotal role in the much maligned Seinfeld finale as the mugging victim that sparks a Good Samaritan Law trial that ultimately puts the gang in jail for one year. Pinette had been suffering from liver and heart disease, according to TMZ. He was 50, but was around 34 at the time of his one Seinfeld appearance.
1. George Steinbrenner, Played By George Steinbrenner
Wait a second, you may be thinking. The real George Steinbrenner was never on Seinfeld! Well, yes, but he did film an episode in which he plays himself. This was ultimately dropped after Jerry decided they needed to continue with the Steinbrenner gimmick whenever possible, but the scenes exist and you can watch them on the DVD bonus materials for the complete series. As for the “fake” George Steinbrenner, he lives on in the appearance of Lee Bear and the voice of Larry David.
Saying goodbye to Stephen Lee and these other wonderful actors makes the world a little sadder place, but they live on in their memorable performances. Who’s your favorite Seinfeld supporting actor?