Willy Switkes Dies: ‘Tootsie’ Actor Dead At 83 Of Colon Cancer

Last week saw Willy Switkes die from colon cancer.

Willy Switkes was a character actor who played minor roles Tootsie, Taxi Driver, The French Connection and dozens of other films.

Willy Switkes grew up in Washington DC but New York City was his home for most of his adult life. Willy Switkes’ niece, Ellen Switkes, says he died of colon cancer on Thursday at a hospice in Rockville, Md.

Willy Switkes probably will be probably not be remembered very well for his work in Tootsie, which garners a 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The characters played by Willy Switkes 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. But Willy Switkes’s death still leaves behind an impressive body of work.

Willy Switkes worked with Buster Keaton in his 1960 tour of “Once Upon a Mattress,” Switkes also appeared in Broadway productions of The Cherry Orchard and A Thousand Clowns. Other famous works include the 1971 Woody Allen comedy Bananas.

Willy Switkes played an unsung character who was frequently not even listed in the credits. But today Willy Switkes is remembered. He was age 83.