Leonard Termo, 77, Acted in 5 Mickey Rourke Movies

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Leonard Termo

Leonard Termo

Char­ac­ter actor Leonard Termo, who appeared along­side Mickey Rourke in five 1980s films, died peace­fully in his sleep Tues­day at his Santa Clarita, Cal­i­for­nia home, his friend, actor Elias Koteas, said Fri­day. He was 77.

Termo voiced Steve’s dad in the 2001 ani­mated short Clay Pride: Being Clay in Amer­ica, directed by David Karls­berg and Jon Watts.

The Brooklyn-born Termo guested in the infa­mous Sein­feld episode “The Mango,” which opened the series’ fifth sea­son. In it, he por­trayed the owner of Joe’s Fruits who bans Kramer, then Jerry, when Michael Richards’ char­ac­ter crabs about a bad peach.

Later, George eats one of Joe’s man­goes, which appar­ently ends his erec­tile dys­func­tion. “I think it moved!” George announces in bed.

Termo first appeared in films in 1983’s Heart Like a Wheel. The fol­low­ing year, he por­trayed a gay waiter oppo­site Rourke in The Pope of Green­wich Vil­lage. Other appear­ances with Rourke were in Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (1985), Bar­bet Schroeder’s Barfly (1987), A Prayer for the Dying (1987) and Home­boy (1988).

His other movies included Fran­cis Ford Coppola’s The Cot­ton Club (1984), Johnny Dan­ger­ously (1984), Turk 182! (1985), Ruby (1992), Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994, as a makeup man), David Lynch’s Lost High­way (1997), Fight Club (1999) and Ali (2001).

TV series in which he appeared included Wiseguy and Lois & Clark: The New Adven­tures of Super­man.

Termo became an actor in the mid-1970s, leav­ing his job as a busi­ness­man in New York’s gar­ment dis­trict. To change careers, he “left it all — my wife, my kid, my money, every­thing,” he told New York mag­a­zine in a Novem­ber 1983 pro­file of Rourke. “I love act­ing. I’m broke. I sleep on a cot.”

Rourke befriended Termo after see­ing him in a Los Ange­les the­ater pro­duc­tion. The pair were long­time friends.

If they told me they’d chuck a few years off my life, but I knew when I went that Lenny would go with me, I’d do it in a sec­ond,” Rourke said in a 1987 Play­boy inter­view.

Termo and Rourke were once sched­uled to appear in a Cimino biog­ra­phy at Embassy Pic­tures about “Legs” Dia­mond with Rourke as the 1930s gang­ster and Termo as his body­guard. How­ever, the film never was made.

Rourke could not be reached for comment.

A memo­r­ial ser­vice is planned for Jan­u­ary 15, with details to be announced, Koteas said.

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