Gregory Sierra, Actor Recognized for His Sitcom Work, Dies at 83
Gregory Sierra, a personality actor who navigated simply between comedy and drama however was greatest identified for his supporting roles on the sitcoms “Sanford and Son” and “Barney Miller,” died on Jan. 4 at his residence in Laguna Woods, Calif. He was 83.
His spouse, Helene Sierra, mentioned the trigger was abdomen and liver most cancers.
Lanky and balding, Mr. Sierra began out in Hollywood within the late Sixties and early ’70s taking modest components — together with on the sitcom “The Flying Nun” and the key agent sequence “Mission Inconceivable,” as properly in because the 1970 movie sequel “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.”
Along with his Puerto Rican background, Mr. Sierra was usually forged in ethnic roles, together with Latinos, Italians and Native People.
In 1972, throughout its second season, he joined the forged of “Sanford and Son,” one among Norman Lear’s many groundbreaking sitcoms, within the recurring function of Julio Fuentes, a junk vendor who lived subsequent door to Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx), who additionally had a junkyard along with his son, Lamont (Demond Wilson), within the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He stayed till 1975.
Julio tried laborious to befriend Fred however was the frequent goal of his insults.
“Why don’t you go do some work in your yard,” Fred tells Julio in a single episode. “Go take a shower. Go milk your goat.”
“I did that each one this morning,” Julio says.
“Why don’t you return to Puerto Rico?” Fred says.
“I come from New York Metropolis and I can dwell in any of the 50 states I need,” Julio solutions.
“Why don’t you attempt Alaska?” Fred responds. “That’s a state.”
Mr. Sierra left “Sanford and Son” to turn into a member of the unique forged of “Barney Miller,” the Emmy Award-winning sitcom starring Hal Linden set in a police precinct in Greenwich Village. As Detective Sgt. Chano Amenguale, Mr. Sierra earned explicit reward for a 1975 episode which he was emotionally devastated and almost broke down after killing two gunmen.
After two seasons, he left “Barney Miller” when he was forged because the star of an ensemble comedy, “A.E.S. Hudson Road,” about an emergency service hospital in Manhattan. He performed a health care provider within the sequence, which made its debut in 1978.
In his overview, Gadget Clock’s tv critic John J. O’Connor described “A.E.S. Hudson Road” as “foolish, usually downright silly and infrequently insultingly tasteless.” However, he added, “With Mr. Sierra round to carry the absurdities collectively, it shouldn’t be written off to rapidly.”
ABC canceled it after 5 episodes.
Mr. Sierra was additionally a part of the unique forged of “Miami Vice” in 1984, because the commanding officer of the detectives performed by Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson. However he left after 4 episodes; his character was assassinated after he determined to depart the sequence. “He didn’t like Miami and a number of the individuals he labored with,” his spouse mentioned by telephone. “He gave up loads to depart the present.”
Gregory Joseph Sierra was born on Jan. 25, 1937, in Manhattan and grew up in Spanish Harlem. His dad and mom deserted him when he was younger, and he was raised by an aunt.
Along with his spouse, Mr. Sierra is survived by his stepdaughters, Kelly and Jill, and a step-granddaughter. His first two marriages led to divorce.
After serving within the Air Pressure, Mr. Sierra went with a buddy to an appearing college audition in Manhattan. Mr. Sierra was not there for the audition, however after performing an improvisation along with his buddy, it was he and never his buddy who acquired into the college.
He later toured with the Nationwide Shakespeare Firm and appeared because the King of Austria in “King John” on the New York Shakespeare Pageant (now Shakespeare within the Park) in 1967.
He moved to Los Angeles within the late Sixties and maintained a prolific appearing tempo for 30 years, largely in supporting roles.
Certainly one of his most riveting characters appeared in a 1973 episode of “All within the Household.” His character, Paul Benjamin, was a Jewish vigilante who tried to guard the house of Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), whose entrance door has been coated with a swastika. Mr. Sierra infused the character with humor and self-assurance.
Believing that the ignorant, bigoted Archie has been the sufferer of anti-Semitism, Paul tells him — to his confusion and consternation — “You positive don’t look Jewish.”
“Nicely there’s a superb purpose for that,” Archie says. “I ain’t Jewish.”
The swastika, it seems, was meant for a Jewish neighbor with an analogous handle. Moments after Paul leaves the Bunkers’ home, he’s killed by a automotive bomb.
Mr. Sierra’s most up-to-date credited function was as a screenwriter in “The Different Aspect of the Wind” (2018), Orson Welles’s long-delayed film a few film director (John Huston), which was filmed within the Nineteen Seventies however not launched till 2018.
In 2009, Mr. Sierra returned to the stage after 40 years as a British police officer in a manufacturing of “See How They Run” on the theater at Laguna Woods Village, the retirement group the place he lived.
“He hadn’t been onstage for a really very long time, so he was somewhat nervous,” John Perak, who directed Mr. Sierra in that manufacturing, mentioned by telephone. “I mentioned, ‘Greg, don’t be afraid, it’s not an enormous deal.’ He got here ready and did very properly.”
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