Joe Santos, who played Lieutenant Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files, has died at 84 years old from a heart attack. He suffered the heart attack at home in Los Angeles on Wednesday and died Friday morning in a Santa Monica hospital, said his son Perry and agent Alicia Beekman.
After the heart attack, Santos was put on life support which helped him to go through the last days, according to his son. The Rockford Files star is survived by his two sons and his daughter.
Santos had an Emmy nomination for his character, Dennis Becker, on the hit show from 1974 in NBC. He appeared in 112 episodes from 1974 to 1980, playing Becker who served as the friend to private investigator Jim Rockford, played by James Garner, as reported by People Magazine.
“He is the kind of guy who lights up a set just by showing up. And there are not too many around like that. He is so good and so professional, and he is got so much enthusiasm” TV Guide quoted Garner in 1977.
Although he was better known for his role on the NBC’s show, Santos also had roles on “Magnum, P.I.” and “The Sopranos”. Recently, he participated in the movie “Chronic” released in 2015.
“A lot of time stumbling around”
Before making a career in the big and small screen, Sando played football at Fordham University. It was not until he attended an acting class with a friend that he would find his life’s purpose, according to Variety.
He fell into acting by accident, Santos commented in a 1980 interview with the associated press. It was a football injury that led to him becoming an actor. He was recuperating from a knee operation when the friend encouraged him to go to the class. After that, he worked on a soap opera and did a lot of theater, often for free.
Source: People Magazine