Gregory Sierra, a longtime actor who appeared in TV shows and movies, most notably in “Barney Miller” and “Sanford and His Son”, died on January 4 in Laguna Woods, California, of cancer. He was 83 years old.
A native of New York, Sierra made his breakthrough when he was cast as Julio Fuentes, Fred Sanford’s Puerto Rican neighbor of Redd Foxx in “Sanford and Son”.
After he left that series, Sierra played one of the original detectives working in the varied District 12 of Greenwich Village on ABC’s “Barney Miller”. It was written from the series after its second season to star in “AES Hudson Street,” a skit about a crowded emergency room, but it only lasted six episodes.
Sierra also appeared as a Jewish extremist guard in “Archie Is Branded,” the 1973 episode of “All in the Family” on CBS, where someone paints a square cross on Archie’s door. The episode, which ended silently, was among the most memorable of the long-running series.
Sierra was born on January 25, 1937, in Harlem, Spain, and attended the College of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brooklyn. After school, he worked with the National Shakespeare Company and at the New York Shakespeare Festival before moving to Los Angeles, where he started getting small parts in television and supporting roles in films such as Under the Planet of the Apes, Reaching Forward, “Papillon” and Hell is towering. “
He has had recurring roles in several TV shows, including “Hill Street Blues,” “Miami Vice,” and “Murder, She Wrote” and has appeared in a large number of other series.
Star of “Miami Vice” Edward James Olmos tweeted He read the news of Sierra’s death and cried. “Gregory Sierra will be with us forever,” wrote Olmos. “Those who knew him. His laugh. His intelligence. His kindness. His extraordinary artistic ability. He was a friend, a guide, a force of nature that I was so grateful to know and worked with. Rest in peace.”