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The Boston Globe

Obituaries

Willy Switkes, 83; had minor roles in ‘Tootsie,’ ‘Taxi Driver’

Mr. Switkes also appeared in ‘‘The French Connection’’ and on Broadway.

Switkes Family photo

Mr. Switkes also appeared in ‘‘The French Connection’’ and on Broadway.

NEW YORK — Willy Switkes, a character actor who had minor roles in ‘‘Tootsie,’’ “Taxi Driver,’’ and dozens of other films, has died. He was 83.

His niece Ellen Switkes said he died of colon cancer on Thursday at a hospice in Rockville, Md.

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Mr. Switkes was a native of Washington, D.C., and a longtime New York City resident. He appeared in Broadway productions of ‘‘The Cherry Orchard’’ and ‘‘A Thousand Clowns’’ and was an understudy to Buster Keaton during a 1960 tour of ‘‘Once Upon a Mattress.’’ His other films include ‘‘The French Connection’’ and ‘‘Bananas.’’

His characters often were unidentified, such as his ‘‘man at cab’’ credit for ‘‘Tootsie,’’ in which he’s thrown from a taxi after trying to cut in front of title character Dustin Hoffman.

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