Joe Santos - Rotten Tomatoes

Joe Santos



When asked why he decided upon becoming an actor, Joe Santos tended to trot out the tried-and-true rationale "because I failed at everything else." While attending Fordham University, Santos excelled at football, but lost interest in the sport after a few semi-pro years. By the time he was 30, Santos had been remarkably unsuccessful in a variety of vocations, including railroad worker, tree cutter, automobile importer and tavern owner. While working a construction job in New York, Santos was invited by a friend to sit in on an acting class. This seemed like an easy way to make a living, so Santos began making the audition rounds, almost immediately landing a good part on a TV soap opera. This gig unfortunately led nowhere, and for the next year or so Santos drove a cab for 10 to 11 hours a day. The novice actor's first big break was a part in the 1971 film Panic in Needle Park, which he received at the recommendation of the film's star (and Santos' frequent softball partner) Al Pacino. With the plum part of Sergeant Cruz in the four-part TV drama The Blue Knight (1973), Santos inaugurated a fruitful, still-thriving career in "cop" roles, the best and longest-lasting of which was detective Dennis Becker on the James Garner series The Rockford Files (1974-80). Joe Santos' other series-TV credits include the top-billed part of deadbeat dad Norman Davis in Me and Maxx (1980), Hispanic nightclub comic Paul Rodriguez' disapproving father in AKA Pablo (1984), and Lieutenant Frank Harper in the 1985-86 episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick. One of his final roles was a recurring gig on The Sopranos. Santos died in 2016, at age 84.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
51% The Man from Elysian Fields
  • Domenico
2001
No Score Yet Proximity
  • Clive Plummer
2001
54% Auggie Rose
  • Emanuel
2001
No Score Yet Hammerlock
  • Warden Stan Cromwell
2000
9% The Postman
  • Getty
1997
9% Trial by Jury
  • Johnny Verona
1994
No Score Yet Sinatra
  • Marty Sinatra
1992
13% Mo' Money
  • Lt. Raymond Walsh
1992
No Score Yet The Education of Allison Tate
  • Actor
1992
44% The Last Boy Scout
  • Bessalo
1991
No Score Yet Deadly Desire
  • Gus
1991
No Score Yet The Old Man and the Sea
  • Lopez
1990
33% Revenge
  • Ibarra
1990
No Score Yet Good Cops, Bad Cops
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Beverly Hills Brats
  • Spyder
1989
No Score Yet The Ratings Game (The Mogul)
  • Tony
1984
71% Fear City
  • Frank
1984
84% Blue Thunder
  • Montoya
1983
No Score Yet Zandy's Bride (For Better, for Worse)
  • Frank
1974
No Score Yet Blade
  • Spinelli
1973
No Score Yet The Don Is Dead
  • Joe Lucci
1973
100% The Friends of Eddie Coyle
  • Artie Van
1973
43% Shamus
  • Lt. Promuto
1973
No Score Yet The Legend of Charley
  • Reverend
1972
70% Shaft's Big Score!
  • Pascal
1972
No Score Yet The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
  • Ezmo
1971
80% The Panic in Needle Park
  • DiBono
1971
No Score Yet My Body Hungers
  • Truck Driver
1967
No Score Yet Moonlighting Wives
  • Actor
1966

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
97% The Sopranos
1999-2007
  • Angelo Garepe
No Score Yet MacGyver
1985-1992
  • Jimmy Kendall `The Eraser'

Quotes from Joe Santos' Characters

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