Veteran character actor Reni Santoni passed away at the age of 81 on August 1st. The news was shared by Santoni’s long-time friend and musician Tracy Newman via a Facebook post.
Throughout his long career in the movies and in television, Santoni had notable roles alongside Clint Eastwood in 1971’s “Dirty Harry” and as Poppie in “Seinfeld”.
Newman relayed how Santoni’s health has been faltering for some period now and said he will dearly miss his old friend. As of now, his exact cause of death has not been disclosed. Newman remembered Santoni not only as an excellent actor and performer but also as a friend.
The Emmy Award winning musician said Santoni had a great sense of humor who brightened the days of everyone who was near him. He said he will upload the many pictures that he had taken with his friend throughout this week.
Born in New York, Santoni began his decades-spanning career in small theatrical roles.
He debuted on the big screen as an uncredited junkie in Sidney Lumet’s 1965 film “The Pawnbroker”.His first starring role was in Carl Reiner’s debut film – 1967’s “Enter Laughing”.
Although he was rarely the center of the film, Santoni always carried with him an aura that made directors cast him alongside Hollywood’s biggest names. From Eastwood as aforementioned to Sean Penn in “Bad Boys” (1983) and Sylvester Stallone in “Cobra” (1986), Santoni always put in a stellar performance.
The role that he is most widely remembered for is arguably as ‘sloppy’ Poppie in Seinfeld. He made periodic appearances between 1994 and 1998 as a restaurant owner who is rather sloppy.
Even in his later years, Santoni turned in memorable performances in TV shows. For instance, he had a role in “28 Days” with Sandra Bullock and some minor roles in “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy”.
He is survived by his wife and his son Nick. In his post that shared the news of Santoni’s passing, Newman mentioned how highly he thinks of Nick, saying that the son has been a great source of comfort for his father as the older Santoni had health issues.
Join us in sharing your condolences to his family and friends, and share this story with your friends who may remember the great actor we lost.
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