Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who is Private Movie?

During WWII, a small group of GI's returning from Rome stumble into a mine field while fleeing an enemy tank. A young recruit, named Movie, attempts a 'Hale Mary' dash across the area. The actor who played this soldier often found himself coming to the aid of other movie characters in dangerous situations. Who is Private Movie?

He helped this detective fight crime in San Francisco:

He helped Paco and Mick to be good boys in lock up:

He helped this war correspondent get to Rome during an invasion.

He helped Lieutenant Marion Cobretti go after the Night Slasher's army in Los Angeles:

He helped gunfighter Chris to free a revolutionary in Mexico:

Regardless of where he's been throughout his career, this actor has always been a helpful kind of character:

Reni Santoni
With large expressive eyes and handsome Latin features, Reni Santoni has acted as a supporting character with some of the biggest stars in movies and television for the past 50 years. His first starring role came in Carl Reiner's Enter Laughing (1967) where he played an aspiring, but inexperienced actor cast in an off Broadway play with Jose Ferrer and Elaine May. His most prominent role came as Inspector Chico Gonzalez, in Don Siegel's Dirty Harry, where he was teamed with Clint Eastwood. 

Throughout his career, he's often been cast as a cop in movies such as Cobra or television shows like NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice and Manimal. He's also played a judge, a priest, a network executive and had comedic roles in shows like Seinfeld and films like Betty Thomas' Private Parts. My favorite role of Santoni's, however,  will always be the lovestruck green GI who has to beat a hasty retreat though a minefield in Italy with Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk and Earl Holliman. 

With a resume that is nearing 100 credits, Reni Santoni certainly deserves a place in The Under-appreciated Character Actor's Hall of Fame.

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