After doing dozens of guest shots over the years, Reni Santoni got his chance to co-star on a television series with “Manimal”. This action–adventure series was created by Glen A. Larson and Donald R. Boyle, and centered on the character “Dr. Jonathan Chase” (Simon MacCorkindale), a shape-shifting man who can turn himself into any animal he chooses. He uses this ability to help the police solve crimes. Santoni played a cop, “Lt. Nick Rivera,” on the show.
Melody Anderson and Reni Santoni in “Manimal”
NBC premiered the series with a 90-minute pilot on Friday, 30 September 1983. Two weeks later, it began its regular season run, in a one-hour slot on Friday at 9 PM. Unfortunately, the show was going up against CBS’s “Dallas,” the #1-rated program on television that season. “Manimal” was placed on hiatus after only four regular episodes had aired, and production on the show ceased at that time. The show returned to the NBC schedule a month later, burning off the three remaining produced episodes before the show was officially canceled because of low ratings. For the year, it came in at #90 in the ratings.
In BREWSTER’S MILLIONS, a minor league baseball player (Richard Pryor) has to spend $30 million in thirty days, in order to inherit $300 million. However, he's not allowed to own any assets, destroy the money, gift it, give it to charity or tell anyone about the deal. Reni Santoni had a small part in the film as “Vin Rapelito.” Walter Hill directed the 1985 comedy. Ry Cooder’s score has not had a release.
RADIOACTIVE DREAMS takes place after an atomic war, during which "Phillip Hammer" (John Stockwell) and "Marlowe Chandler" (Michael Dudikoff) have spent 15 years on their own in a bunker, stuffed with junk from the 1940s and old detective novels. Now 19 years old, they leave their shelter to find a world full of mutants, freaks, and cannibals. They become famous detectives in the struggle for the two keys that could fire the last nuclear weapon. In this sci-fi comedy adventure, Reni Santoni played a "‘Red’ hairstylist.” Exploitation director Albert Pyun helmed the 1985 film. The film had a score by Peter Manning Robinson, but only songs appeared on an LP by RCA/BMG Ariola (Germany) and 2011 CD by Global Records/ JAM.
Burned out after thirteen years as an air traffic controller, “Jack Chester” (John Candy) is placed on a mandatory five-day vacation. His supervisor arranges for Jack and his family – wife “Sandy” (Karen Austin), teenage daughter “Jennifer” (Kerri Green), pre-teen “Bobby” (Joey Lawrence), and toddler “Laurie” (Aubrey Jene)—to take a SUMMER RENTAL in Citrus Cove, Florida. While there, Jack takes his family to the Barnacle, a tiny and decidedly downscale oceanfront restaurant named after the owner “Scully’s” (Rip Torn’s) dilapidated sailboat that makes up one of the restaurant’s dining areas. Jack devises to enter the Citrus Cove Regatta in Scully’s boat. Reni Santoni had a small part as an announcer in the film.
Carl Reiner was signed in early March 1985 to direct the film, which was scheduled to begin shooting in St. Petersburg, Florida, on 18 March 1985, on a nine-week shooting schedule. According to Reiner, the project came together quickly, with the script being completed in a couple of months. SUMMER RENTAL was Reni Santoni's third and last film with Carl Reiner.
The picture opened in 1,500 theaters. Critical reaction was tepid. The movie was originally classified with a [PG-13] rating but after cuts were made during further editing, the film was then re-classified with a [PG] rating. SUMMER RENTAL made a respectable showing at the box office, placing in the top 40 films of 1985 with grosses of $24.7 million. Alan Silvestri’s score was released by Quartet in 2014.
Reni Santoni had his biggest role in years, co-starring with Sylvester Stallone in 1986’s COBRA. Stallone stars as “Marion ‘Cobra’ Cobretti,” a hard-bitten Los Angeles cop who plays by his own rules. Cobretti takes a serial cult murder investigation into his own hands because the detectives assigned to the case are a little too squeamish for his tastes when it comes to shooting first and asking questions later. His partner is “Gonzales” (Santoni) and his romantic interest is “Ingrid” (Brigitte Nielsen), the cult’s intended next victim.
Sylvester Stallone admired Clint Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY (1971), and Stallone wrote COBRA as a tribute. Filmmakers carried the theme even further by hiring Santoni, who played "Dirty Harry’s" partner, "Chico," to be “Cobra’s” partner, “Sergeant Gonzales,” and actor Andrew Robinson, who played the “Scorpio killer,” was hired as Cobra's adversary “Detective Monte.”
Reni Santoni in COBRA
George P. Cosmatos was the credited director, although various members of the cast and crew acknowledge that Cosmatos usually acceded to whatever Stallone wanted to do. At one point during filming, Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind, and said he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that if Stallone "gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen's ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards, maybe they wouldn't have problems with time". Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way, but he toned down his ego for a few weeks. In an interview, Waite also said that Stallone had a great sense of humor, despite his huge ego. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director.
Sylvester Levay’s score claimed three of the ten tracks on the Scotti Bros. soundtrack CD.
Reni Santoni’s second recurring television role saw him starring in “Sanchez of Bel Air”. Having earned financial success, a self-made business man has moved his working-class, east-LA-born Chicano family into California's affluent Bel Air community. The show’s cast was composed almost entirely of Latinos and Latinas. “Ricardo Sanchez,” the father of the family and owner of a clothing company, "Buy Sanchez," is played by Reni Santoni. His wife, “Rita Sanchez,” is played by Marcia Del Mar. Their children, “Gina and Miguel Sanchez,” are played by Alitzah Weiner and Richard Coca. “Teresa Sanchez,” the grandmother of the family, is portrayed by Alma Beltran. Next door to the Sanchez's is their neighbor, former musician Frankie Rondell, played by Bobby Sherman.
The USA Network partnered with Paramount Pictures for the first time to create the sitcom, which premiered on October 3, 1986 and ran for a single season of thirteen half-hour episodes, airing on Friday nights at 8 PM. The show competed with some well-known programs on the broadcast networks—“The A-Team” (NBC), “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” (CBS) and “Webster” (ABC).
Womanizer “Jack Jericho” (Robert Downey, Jr.) meets his match when he falls for “Randy Jensen” (Molly Ringwald), a woman in debt to the Mafia in THE PICK-UP ARTIST. Reni Santoni had a walk on part as a man in a train station. James Toback wrote and directed this 1987 comedy-drama. Georges Delerue’s score was released by Intrada in 2006 and re-issued by Kritzerland in 2015.
Reni Santoni did voice work in two 1988 films—BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY and RAIN MAN.
In THE PACKAGE, experienced Green Beret sergeant "Johnny Gallagher" (Gene Hackman) is escorting a prisoner, Airborne Ranger "Thomas Boyette" (Tommy Lee Jones), back to the U.S. But Boyette escapes, and Gallagher must risk life and limb to catch him. Reni Santonin played a Chicago police lieutenant in this 1989 action drama. Andrew Davis directed the film. James Newton Howard's score was released by Prometheus in 2003.
THE LATE SHIFT was a made-for-cable dramatization of the rivalry between David Letterman (John Michael Higgins) and Jay Leno (Daniel Roebuck) over which of them would succeed Johnny Carson (Rich Little) as the host of "The Tonight Show.” Reni Santoni played John Agoglia, an NBC executive who played a significant role in the network’s decision.
Betty Thomas directed the film, which aired on HBO on 24 February 1996. Ira Newborn’s score was released by Silva America.
Reni Santoni had a small role as a cop in the 1998 teenage comedy CAN’T HARDLY WAIT. In the film, it is finally graduation day, and a huge house party is in the works. “Preston Meyers” (Ethan Embry) has decided it is the day to tell “Amanda Beckett” (Jennifer Love Hewitt) that he has loved her ever since he first saw her. His introverted friend “Denise Fleming” (Lauren Ambrose) finds her night turned upside down when she’s trapped with her former best friend “Kenny Fisher” (Seth Green). Jock “Mike Dexter” (Peter Facinelli) decides to dump Amanda, but also finds himself the target of a trio of geeks led by “William Lichter” (Charlie Korsmo) who want revenge for his years of torture. It is going to be a wild night and everything might be different by the morning.
Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan co-wrote and co-directed the film. None of David Kitay’s score appeared on the Warner Bros./Elektra song-track CD.
In 28 DAYS, big-city newspaper columnist “Gwen Cummings” (Sandra Bullock) is forced to enter a drug and alcohol rehab center after ruining her sister's wedding and crashing a stolen limousine. At the Serenity Glen center, Reni Santoni is “Daniel,” a grumpy member of Gwen’s therapy group.
Reni Santoni in 28 DAYS
Betty Thomas directed this 2000 comedy-drama. This was the sixth and last film in which Reni Santoni was directed by Thomas. Richard Gibbs’ score was released by Varese Sarabande.