Jimmy Kimmel Live

Jimmy Kimmel offers tearful tribute to late Uncle Frank

Sep. 7, 2011 at 8:00 AM ET

Bob D'amico / ABC /
"Jimmy Kimmel Live's" Uncle Frank Potenza

Not a dry eye could be found in the house Tuesday night, most especially those of Jimmy Kimmel. The host of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" devoted a portion of his show Tuesday night to his late uncle Frank Potenza, a security guard and frequent participant on the show in routines like "Uncle Frank and Aunt Chippy's Adventures."

The 77-year old Potenza had been a New York City police officer and security guard at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and died on August 23.

Kimmel's tribute was heartfelt and had him in tears almost from the get-go. "Listen, I'm gonna try to do this without crying, but I'm probably gonna fail," said to the audience, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "But just turn away or something, because it's embarrassing. It really is."

According to Kimmel, Potenza's plan "was to live to 103. He wanted to be the oldest living retired police officer in New York City, not because he wanted to set a record or be in the paper; he just wanted to stick them for another 25 years of pension checks."

Potenza was affected by "a few different kinds of cancer," said Kimmel, and noted that even doctors weren't sure which of them killed him.

He told the audience that his uncle's last few days were spent in the hospital with family around him. Kimmel also showed the audience old photos from Potenza's history, as well as stories and audio recordings, said E! Online.

Just before a video montage of Potenza, Kimmel's tears broke through as he offered thanks to everyone who made it easier for his uncle to appear on the show, including "picking him up 12 hours early for work. He loved you. And thanks to all of you who came to my show and watched for indulging me and letting me put my crazy uncle on television."

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