Reni Santoni, Dirty Harry and Seinfeld actor, dies at 81
Reni Santoni, known for his roles in Dirty Harry and Seinfeld, has died at the age of 81.
The actor died Saturday from natural causes after several months in hospice care in Los Angeles, PEOPLE reported.
Santoni played Inspector Chico Gonzalez in Clint Eastwood’s famous 1971 action flick, and delivered the famous line: “No wonder they call him Dirty Harry; [he] always gets the s- end of the stick.”
He also appeared in four episodes of Seinfeld as Poppie the pizza chef. He had over 100 movie credits to his name, including roles in Eddie Murphy’s Doctor Dolittle (1998), Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra (1986), Sean Penn’s Bad Boys (1983), and more. Santoni’s last few credits included a guest role in Franklin & Bash in 2012. He also previously appeared in TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Judging Amy, and The Practice.
The New York native began acting in off-Broadway productions with the play he co-wrote, Raisin’ Hell in the Son. Santoni got his first screen role in Rod Steiger’s 1964 film The Pawnbroker. He worked with director Carl Reiner multiple times – first starring in Reiner’s directorial debut Enter Laughing in 1967, then in the comedies Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) and Summer Rental (1985).
Santoni is survived by his son, Nick.
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