Reni Santoni, the much-loved actor who is best known for roles in projects such as Seinfeld and Dirty Harry, has passed away at the age of 81.
The news was confirmed by the actor’s close friend and TV writer-producer, Tracy Newman, who explained that he had been “sick for quite a while” before passing away on Saturday.
“Those of you who knew him know how funny he was, what a terrific actor, improviser, performer, etc.,” a statement released to social media read. “So brilliant. I loved him very much and will miss him terribly. Another great one is gone.
“I have a lot of wonderful pictures of him, and will post them over the next week. My heart goes out to his son, Nick, who has been such a comfort to Reni over that past five years or more.”
After beginning his career on the stage with appearances on Broadway, Santoni got a taste of the big screen with an uncredited role in the 1964 film The Pawnbroker alongside Rod Steiger who was in the lead. From there, the actor went on to appear in pictures such as Enter Laughing, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Bad Boys and more.
While Santoni’s skills went far and wide, he’ll most likely be remembered most fondly for the roles of Inspector Chico Gonzalez in 1971 film Dirty Harry and his appearance hit sitcom Seinfeld. In the show, the actor portrayed ‘Poppie’, the very unhygienic restaurateur who fails to wash his hands.