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Joe Santos

  • Birthplace: New York City
  • Birthday: June 09
Date of passing: 
March 18, 2016

Joe Santos was an actor best known for playing Lt. Dennis Becker, a frustrated L.A. policeman and friend of Jim Rockford, James Garner’s private detective on The Rockford Files. Santos played good-hearted cops seveel times during his career, but it was his role as Becker in 112 episodes of the NBC series that earned him his Emmy nomination, in 1979.

Santos also appeared in eight Rockford Files television specials throughout the 1990s. Additionally, he appeared on many other television programs, including roles on Naked City; Barnaby Jones; The Streets of San Francisco; Baretta; Lou Grant; Police Story; Trapper John, M.D., Jessie; Hill Street Blues; The A-Team; Remington Steele; T.J. Hooker; The Twilight Zone; MacGyver; Magnum, P.I.; Murder, She Wrote; Miami vice; Quantum Leap; Santa Barbara; Hunter; NYPD Blue; and The Sopranos. He was on the HBO drama series as the recurring character Angelo Garepe, one of his few “bad guy” roles.

He also appeared in the 1973 miniseries The Blue Knight opposite William Holden; as well as the telefilms The Selling of Vince D'Angelo, staring Danny DeVito; The Ratings Game, with DeVito and Rhea Perlman; and The Old Man and the Sea, with Anthony Quinn, Gary Cole and Patricia Clarkson.

Joe Santos was an actor best known for playing Lt. Dennis Becker, a frustrated L.A. policeman and friend of Jim Rockford, James Garner’s private detective on The Rockford Files. Santos played good-hearted cops seveel times during his career, but it was his role as Becker in 112 episodes of the NBC series that earned him his Emmy nomination, in 1979.

Santos also appeared in eight Rockford Files television specials throughout the 1990s. Additionally, he appeared on many other television programs, including roles on Naked City; Barnaby Jones; The Streets of San Francisco; Baretta; Lou Grant; Police Story; Trapper John, M.D., Jessie; Hill Street Blues; The A-Team; Remington Steele; T.J. Hooker; The Twilight Zone; MacGyver; Magnum, P.I.; Murder, She Wrote; Miami vice; Quantum Leap; Santa Barbara; Hunter; NYPD Blue; and The Sopranos. He was on the HBO drama series as the recurring character Angelo Garepe, one of his few “bad guy” roles.

He also appeared in the 1973 miniseries The Blue Knight opposite William Holden; as well as the telefilms The Selling of Vince D'Angelo, staring Danny DeVito; The Ratings Game, with DeVito and Rhea Perlman; and The Old Man and the Sea, with Anthony Quinn, Gary Cole and Patricia Clarkson.

Additionally, he was in the feature films The Detective, starring Frank Sinatra; Shamus, starring Burt Reynolds; The Friends of Eddie Coyle, with Robert Mitchum; The Don Is Dead, starring Anthony Quinn; Zandy’s Bride, with Gene Hackman; Revenge, starring Kevin Costner and Quinn; The Last Boy Scout, with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans; Auggie Rose, with Jeff Goldblum and Anne Heche; Proximity, starring Rob Lowe; and The Man from Elysian Fields, with Andy Garcia, Mick Jagger and Julianna Margulies.

Santos got his start after becoming friends with Al Pacino, who introduced him to famed casting director Marion Doughtery. She chose Santos for the role of Det. DiBono in the film The Panic in Needle Park, starring Pacino as Bobby, a small-time hustler and heroin addict.

Santos died March 18, 2016, in Santa Monica, California. He was 84.

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

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