American character actor Willy Switkes has died after losing his battle with colon cancer. He was 83.

The star passed away at a hospice in Rockville, Maryland on Thursday (07Mar13), according to the Associated Press.

Switkes appeared in 1976 movie Taxi Driver and 1982's Tootsie, in a scene where he was thrown from a cab after attempting to cut in front of Dustin Hoffman's character.

Switkes was also a Broadway star, who featured in productions of The Cherry Orchard and A Thousand Clowns. He also acted as an understudy for Buster Keaton during a tour of Once Upon a Mattress in 1960.