Gregory Sierra, Barney Miller and Sanford and son actors, lifeless at 83


Gregory Sierra, best known for his roles as Sgt. Miguel “Chano” Amanguale of Barney Miller and Julio Fuentes of Sanford and Son, died at the age of 83.

Sierra died of cancer on January 4th, a family spokesperson confirmed with our sister site Deadline, but news of his death wasn’t released until Friday. If he had lived, Sierra would have turned 84 on January 25th.

A veteran New Yorker actor of Puerto Rican descent, Sierra has often broken down racial barriers and defied stereotypes by portraying a number of high-level law enforcement and prosecutors in everything from Hill Street Blues to Miami Vice. He played an FBI agent on Falcon Crest and police captains on the original MacGyver and the short-lived Something Is Out There.

Sierra also had a knack for comedic timing, and in addition to his recurring role as Fred Sanford’s sarcastic neighbor Julio, he played small but notable guest roles in Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Soap, and It’s a Living. In his one-off appearance on All In the Family, he played a Jewish extremist named Paul Benjamin, who unexpectedly befriends Archie Bunker but later dies in a car bomb attack. Instead of the audience applause, the episode ended in gloomy silence.

Sierra lived in Laguna Woods, California and is survived by his wife, Helene.

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