Gregory Sierra, ‘Sanford and Son’ Actor, Dies at 83

by Jamila Lizet White

January 25, 2021

Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

Gregory Sierra, best known for his role as Julio Fuentes on Sanford and Son and Sgt. Miguel “Chano” Amanguale on Barney Miller, died on Jan. 4 in Laguna Woods, California after a long battle with cancer. He was 83.

Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“He was an amazing human being, different than any other person, male or female, that I have ever known,” Sierra’s widow, Helene Taber told the Associated Press. “He just was extremely intelligent and a brilliant actor. He had a heart (of gold). Anytime that somebody needed something, he would be there for them and he defended the underdog anytime. And he was a very charming man. He was truly a man’s man and women fell in love with him all the time.”

The born and raised New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent found success in the early 1970s as Fred G. Sanford’s neighbor. In 1975, Sierra went on to play Sgt. Miguel on Barney Miller — a sitcom about the lives of New York police detectives working in Greenwich Village’s 12th Precinct stationhouse.

In 1992, the father-of-two appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Hector Alvarez — Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian’s old neighbor who wrongfully accuses “little Willy from Philly” of stealing.

Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

Additional TV credits include All in the Family, Miami Vice, Zorro and Son, Hawaii Five-O, and several more.

Sierra is survived by his widow, daughters Kelly and Jill, and his granddaughter Emma.

We’re keeping his family and loved ones in our prayers. 

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