Willy Switkes dies: Character actor appeared in 'Tootsie,' 'Taxi Driver'

Willy Switkes dies: Switkes appeared in many popular films and was Buster Keaton's understudy in 'Once Upon a Mattress.'

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    This undated publicity photo provided by the Switkes family shows character actor Willy Switkes, who had minor roles in "Tootsie," "Taxi Driver," and dozens of other films. His niece Ellen Switkes says he died March 7, at a hospice in Rockville, Md.
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Willy Switkes, a character actor who had minor roles in "Tootsie," ''Taxi Driver" and dozens of other films, has died. Mr. Switkes (SWIT'-kehs) was 83.

His niece Ellen Switkes says he died Thursday at a hospice in Rockville, Md.

Willy 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."

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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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