Reni Santoni, ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Dirty Harry’ actor, dies at 81

Discussion in 'General' started by The Joker, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. The Joker

    The Joker Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2012
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    Philadelphia, PA
    I loved him in Seinfeld and Cobra. RIP

    Reni Santoni, who stole scenes as “sloppy” Poppie in several iconic “Seinfeld” episodes, died on Aug. 1 in Los Angeles. He was 81.

    The veteran character actor — who also co-starred opposite Clint Eastwood in 1971’s “Dirty Harry” — had been “sick for quite a while” before passing away Saturday morning, according to a Facebook memorial posted Monday by his friend, singer-songwriter Tracy Newman.

    “Those of you who knew him know how funny he was, what a terrific actor, improviser, performer, etc.,” wrote Newman, an Emmy and Peabody Award winner who worked as a TV writer for series such as “Cheers” and “Ellen.”

    “[He was] so brilliant. I loved him very much and will miss him terribly. Another great one is gone,” continued Newman, who also was a founding member of The Groundlings and The New Christy Minstrels. “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.”

    Santoni died of “natural causes” while under hospice care after years of battling various health issues, Newman confirmed to Fox News.

    A native New Yorker, Santoni launched his decades-long acting career in off-Broadway theater productions, including a role in “The Mad Show” (from the team behind Mad magazine), a 1966 musical comedy revue featuring lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and co-starring Linda Lavin and David Steinberg. He also wrote and staged the 1962 play “Raisin’ Hell in the Son.”

    After early several TV appearances, Santoni transitioned into film work with an uncredited role in the 1965 Sidney Lumet feature “The Pawnbroker,” in which he played a junkie attempting to pawn a radio.

    He scored his first starring role in Carl Reiner’s acclaimed film directorial debut, “Enter Laughing” (1967). Santoni played delivery boy David Kolowitz in the comedy-drama based on Reiner’s novel of the same name. Among his dozens of film credits: Inspector Chico González in Don Siegel’s first “Dirty Harry” film and a juvenile detention center official opposite Sean Penn in 1983’s “Bad Boys.” He also sparred with Sylvester Stallone as detective Tony Gonzales in 1986’s “Cobra.”

    But surely one of Santoni’s most well-remembered roles was a recurring one on “Seinfeld,” as Poppie, a restaurant owner who’s infamous for being “a little sloppy.” He appeared on the classic sitcom from 1994 to 1998. In later years, Santoni starred opposite Sandra Bullock as Daniel in the 2000 rehab comedy “28 Days,” and had guest turns on TV series such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

    Santoni is survived by his wife, actress and stage director Lisa James, and his son, Nick.
  2. burieddeep

    burieddeep Dr. Obrero

    Sep 23, 2004
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    Long Island
    Good actor...I liked him in Bad Boys '83.

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