‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Dirty Harry’ Actor Reni Santoni Dies at 81

August 4, 2020

The actor Reni Santoni died on Aug. 1. He was 81.

Santoni was known to many for his role as “sloppy” Poppie in the sitcom “Seinfeld.”

He also co-starred opposite Clint Eastwood in 1971’s iconic “Dirty Harry.”

In a Facebook post on Monday, his friend, singer-songwriter Tracy Newman, announced that the actor passed away.

“He had been sick for a while,” wrote Newman, who was an Emmy and Peabody Award winner and has served as a TV writer on shows like “Cheers” and “Ellen.”

After starting his acting career in off-Broadway theater productions in 1965, Santoni landed his first starring role in 1967’s “Enter Laughing,” the acclaimed directorial debut of Carl Reiner.

Other significant projects throughout his career included 1983’s “Bad Boys,” in which he played a juvenile detention center official opposite Sean Penn, and 1986’s “Cobra,” in the role of detective Tony Gonzales opposite Sylvester Stallone.

Perhaps his most iconic role was between 1994 and 1998, when he starred in Seinfeld as the recurring Poppie, a restaurant owner known for being “a little sloppy.”

He is survived by his wife, stage director Lisa James, and son Nick.

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