Joe Santos Dead at 84

Joe Santos
Actor Joe Santos, best known for his role as police Sgt. Dennis Becker on the hit 1970s series The Rockford Files, died on Friday, March 18, according to his agent, Alicia Beekman. He was 84. Beekman did not provide any details about his death.

Born Joseph Minieri in Brooklyn, Santos was a football player at Fordham University and turned semi-pro before finding a new avenue in acting.

He worked blue-collar jobs until his friend Al Pacino helped him get a role in the 1971 movie Panic in Needle Park.

From 1974-1980 Santos played Becker, the friend of the easygoing ex-convict-turned-private investigator Jim Rockford (played by James Garner) in The Rockford Files. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 1979.

Santos' numerous other TV credits included Magnum, P.I., Hardcastle and McCormick, a.k.a. Pablo and Hill Street Blues.

In 1990 he appeared on NBC daytime soap opera Santa Barbara as Cy Agnew, a friend of Phyllis Blake (played by Stella Stevens).

He later had a recurring role as Angelo Garepe in The Sopranos until his character was killed and tossed into the trunk of a car.

Santos is survived by his wife, Mary, and two children.

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