Family & Companions
A street-edged character player of TV and movies, often cast as an urban detective or crook, Joe Santos is perhaps best remembered as Detective Dennis Becker, cop pal who respects James Garner's Jim Rockford, on "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-80) and its numerous TV-movies. Santos began his on-screen career with a bit part in "My Body Hungers," a low-budget 1967 film. Subsequent roles included DiBono in "The Panic in Needle Park" and Ezmo in "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight" (both 1971). He was a little known working actor when cast in "The Rockford Files," which triggered much additional work, including TV-movies such as "A Matter of Wife . . . and Death (NBC, 1976). When film work remained sporadic, even after the demise of "Rockford," Santos tried, unsuccessfully, to hook onto another top series. Instead, he weathered flops such as "Me and Maxx" (NBC, 1980), "a.k.a. Pablo" (ABC, 1984) and "Hardcastle and McCormick" (ABC, 1985-86). He had a recurring role as a cop during the 1986-87 season of "Magnum, P.I." (CBS). By the late 80s, Santos was a familiar face in numerous episodic guest appearances, including several as a detective who doesn't like Jessica's meddling on "Murder, She Wrote." His fortunes were revived in 1992 when Santos was cast in a key role in "Sinatra," the CBS miniseries based on the life of the singer. Work in the features "The Last Boy Scout" (1991), "Mo' Money" (1992) and "Trial By Jury" (1994) followed. The revival of "The Rockford Files," which became a once or twice-a-year TV event between 1994 and 1999, also brought Santos back into the public eye, as did roles in Kevin Costner's "The Postman" (1997) and George Hickenlooper's "The Man from Elysian Fields" (2001). A seven-episode arc on "The Sopranos" (HBO 1999-2007) as Angelo Garepe proved to be Santos' final major role. Joe Santos died on March 18, 2016 at the age of 84.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Served in US Army Medical Corps
Film debut "My Body Hungers"
TV-movie debut, "The Blue Knight" (NBC)
Starred on short-lived sitcom "Me and Maxx" (NBC)
Played the father on the short-lived sitcom "a.k.a. Pablo" (ABC)
Co-starred in feature film, "Fear City"
Played Lopez in TV version "Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea"
Co-starred in the film "Mo' Money"
Appeared as Marty Sinatra, "Sinatra" miniseries (CBS)
Co-starred on big screen in "Art Deco Detective" and "Trial By Jury"
Reprised role of Det. Becker on "Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A." TV-movie and subsequent revivals
Appeared in "Tyson" (HBO)