Frank Potenza, a former New York City police officer who turned to comedy as "Uncle Frank" on his nephew Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show, died Tuesday. He was 77.
A statement from ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" said Potenza was "beloved by his co-workers and considered an uncle to all."
"His kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched," it said.
Potenza had served as a police officer for two decades and as a private security guard before Kimmel asked him to join his fledgling show as a guard and cast member in 2003.
On "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" the uniformed Potenza was paired in comedy bits with Guillermo Rodriguez, a real-life parking lot security guard for the show. The two men also joined with Veatrice Rice, another show security guard, in a clueless discussion about news events. Rice died in 2009.
"Thank you for your kind words about a very kind man -- my Uncle Frank -- who passed away this morning," Kimmel said in a Twitter posting.
A native of Brooklyn and a Korean War veteran, Potenza served as a police officer for 20 years before working as a guard in Las Vegas and at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. Then Kimmel asked him to move to Los Angeles to work with him.