Richard Foronjy, Character Actor in ‘Midnight Run’ and ‘Serpico,’ Dies at 86

Richard Foronjy, a character actor who grew up in the gangster world and went to prison before becoming an actor in movies including “Midnight Run,” “Prince of the City” and “Carlito’s Way,” died Sunday. He was 86.

Foronjy, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., saw his first small role as Corsaro in “Serpico,” the 1973 autobiographical crime drama that starred Al Pacino as a whistleblower whose work led to an investigation by the Knapp Commission into the department.

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In the 1984 “Repo Man,” starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez, Foronjy played Arnold Plettschner, the rent-a-cop with the memorable speech, “You’re fuckin’ right I’m Plettschner! Arnold Plettschner! Three times decorated in two world wars! I was killing people while you were still swimming around in your father’s balls! You little scumbag! I worked five years in a slaughterhouse, and ten years as a prison guard in Attica!”

In the 1988 comedy action film “Midnight Run,” he played mobster Tony Darvo, starring alongside Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin.

Foronjy also played a mobster, Peter Amadesso, in the 1993 crime drama “Carlito’s Way” starring Al Pacino and Sean Penn. The film follows Pacino’s character, Carlito Brigante, a criminal who vows to leave the crime life.

Among his other roles were parts in “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Prince of the City” and dozens of TV series including “Who’s the Boss,” “Murphy’s Law,” “Silver Spoons,” “The Jeffersons,” “Cagney & Lacy” and “Hill St. Blues.”

Beyond the screen, Foronjy penned a 2020 memoir “From the Mob to the Movies: How I Escaped the Mafia and Landed in Hollywood” under the name Richie Salerno. The book, published in 2020, followed his life from being in the mob in New York to his career in Hollywood.

Foronjy is survived by his children Charles Foronjy, Susan Argentina, Christine Argentina and Richard Foronjy and 17 grandchildren. He is also survived by his partner, Wendy Odell Chiaro, and three brothers: Charles, Frank and William.

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