Character actor, Willy Switkes who played some minor roles on the big screen, passed away on Thursday, March 7th, 2013 from colon cancer at the age of 83. Associated Press reported that Switkes was in Rockville, Maryland, at a hospice at the time of his death. His niece Ellen was by his side, according to the paper.
Switkes spent most of his life in New York City, but was born in Washington D.C. He obtained small roles in shows such as Taxi Driver, Tootsie, and The French Connection. He also had a small part in Woody Allen’s film “Bananas.”
His roles were very often nameless, like in Tootsie, he was known as “man in cab”, and when he tried to get in lead man Dustin Hoffmann’s way, he was thrown out of the way.
Switkes also appeared in a couple of Broadway productions such as “The Cherry Orchard” and “A Thousand Clowns”. He was also an under study of Buster Keaton, during the 60’s tour of “Once upon a Mattress.” He also played the role as “mint buyer” in the film “Playing for Keeps”.