Gregory Sierra, the comic actor who entertained the masses on “Sanford and Son” and “Barney Miller,” is dead at the age of 83.
The Spanish Harlem-raised entertainer passed away Jan. 4 from cancer, his spokesman, Rick Voll, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
After one-off episodic TV appearances during the late 1960s and early '70s — including an “All in the Family” episode with a chilling ending when Sierra’s character was blown up in his car offscreen — Sierra was cast as recurring character Julio Fuentes on “Sanford and Son.”
He played the foil to Redd Foxx’s hardheaded Fred Sanford, who was often appalled by Julio’s Puerto Rican customs, which included owning a goat.
“I only like American cheese,” huffed Sanford during one episode in which Julio offers him fresh goat cheese. “And you can’t get American cheese from a Puerto Rican goat.”
Sierra departed the series in 1975 to star on “Barney Miller” as beleaguered sergeant Chano Amanguale.
“I think Barney Miller is much more real than any other cop show,” said Sierra during a 1976 interview, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The people in the show have real problems.
“Kojak never worries. He knows he’s got it made. Everything is always under control on that show. You never see the frustrations of police work or the kind of joking that goes on among real policemen. Those are the kinds of things we show on ‘Barney Miller.’”
But he would exit after two seasons to star in the new comedy “A.E.S. Hudson Street,” which lasted just five episodes.
Throughout the 1970s, Sierra appeared in high-profile films, including the Steve McQueen drama “Papillon,” “The Towering Inferno” and “The Prisoner of Zenda.”
Beginning in 1980, Sierra appeared in a dozen episodes of “Soap” as revolutionary Carlos “El Puerco” Valdez, Katherine Helmond’s kidnapper, and later, love interest.
He later appeared sporadically as an assistant district attorney on “Hill Street Blues” and a cop on “Miami Vice.”
During the late 1980s, he starred on the short-lived horror series “Something Is Out There” and later played New York City police lieutenant Gabriel Caceras on “Murder, She Wrote,” where well-meaning Jessica Fletcher would flummox him with her crime theories.
Sierra’s final screen credit was the 2018 movie “The Other Side of the Wind,” according to IMDb.
He is survived by his wife, Helene.©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.