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Dirty Harry and Seinfeld star Reni Santoni has died


Seinfeld star Reni Santoni has died aged 81.

The actor was best known for playing Poppie the pizza chef in the seminal comedy as well as having a star turn in Clint Eastwood led movie, Dirty Harry.

PEOPLE has reported that his friend Tracy Newman, who is a musician and TV producer, revealed that Reni passed away from natural causes on Saturday, while in hospice care in Los Angeles.

Reni had over 100 movie credits listed on IMDb at the time of his death, including roles in Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry (1971), Eddie Murphy’s Doctor Dolittle (1998) and Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra (1986).

Reni played played detective Chico Gonzalez in Dirty Harry, who was a potential partner to Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.

Reni Santoni in Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood

He also guest-starred in four episodes of Seinfeld, in which he played a pizza chef with a bladder control problem called Poppie.

Reni began his acting career on the stage in a play that he co-wrote, Raisin’ Hell in the Son.

He made his big screen debut in Rod Steiger’s 1964 film The Pawnbroker.

Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk and Reni Santoni in Anzio, 1968

In 1967, Reni played his first leading role in Carl Reiner’s semi-autobiographical film Enter Laughing.

He played a delivery boy, David Kolowitz, who leaves his job to become an actor on stage in New York.

Reni worked again with Carl Reiner in 1982’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, which also starred Steve Martin.

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