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Merlin Santana
Born Merlin Thomas Santana
March 14, 1976(1976-03-14)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died November 9, 2002 (aged 26)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1991—2002

Merlin Thomas Santana (March 14, 1976 – November 9, 2002) was an American actor best known for his role as Romeo Santana on the WB series, The Steve Harvey Show.


Early life

Born in Upper Manhattan, New York to Dominican parents, Santana's career in show business began with a push from his parents who wanted to keep him off the tough streets of New York.[1] He began his career at the age of three as an advertising model for a fast food chain. His first screen appearance was as an extra in the Woody Allen film, The Purple Rose of Cairo.


In 1991, Santana landed a recurring role on The Cosby Show as Stanley, the faithful admirer of the young Rudy Huxtable and the romantic rival of Rudy's friend Kenny (Deon Richmond). He was then cast as Marcus Dixon in the short lived sitcom, Getting By, starring Cindy Williams and Telma Hopkins. Deon Richmond was cast as his brother Darren, partly due to their interaction on The Cosby Show. Between 1996 and 1999, he played the role of Ohagi on Moesha.

In 1995, Santana was cast as Marcus Henry in the short-lived CBS family drama Under One Roof, co-starring with James Earl Jones, Joe Morton and Vanessa Bell Calloway.

In 1996, he landed the role of Romeo Santana on The Steve Harvey Show. In 2001, he played the role of Jermaine in the movie Flossin' along side Ken L from "The Parkers", Tyrin Turner from "Menace II Society", Deaundra Bonds from "Get on the Bus"& Bernard Eatmon aka DJ B'LUV from 99.1 KGGI and The Steve Harvey Show. In 2002, he appeared in the VH1 TV movie, Play'd: A Hip Hop Story with Toni Braxton. That same year, Santana landed a role in the Eddie Murphy's comedy, Showtime. His last television acting role was on the UPN series, Half & Half, His last film role was a 2003 comedy, The Blues with fellow Cosby Show alum Deon Richmond.


On November 9, 2002, Santana was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car in South Los Angeles. [2] He was 26 years old. Santana was buried on November 18, 2002 at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

Damien Andre Gates was later convicted of the first-degree murder of Santana and the attempted murder of another man in the car, and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences plus 70 years in prison. Brandon Douglas Bynes received a 23-year sentence after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. An officer involved in the case testified that Monique King, reportedly Gates' girlfriend and aged 15 at the time of Santana's death, falsely claimed that Santana had tried to rape her, which prompted Gates and Bynes to attack the car. King received eight years in juvenile custody.[3]


Year Film Role Notes
1991 The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez Newsboy
2001 Flossin Jermaine
2002 Showtime Hector
2003 The Blues Goya Direct-to-video release
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Major Dad Marvin 2 episodes
Law & Order Roneld Griggs 1 episode
1991-1992 The Cosby Show Stanley 7 episodes
1992 In the Line of Duty: Street War Television movie
1993 Getting By Marcus Dixon 31 episodes
1994 Sister, Sister Joey 1 episode
Street Gear Derick Davis Unknown episodes
1995 Under One Roof Marcus 6 episodes
1995-1996 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Calvin 1 episode
1996 Harambee! Flex Television movie
1996-1999 Moesha Ohagi 5 episodes
1996-2000 The Steve Harvey Show Romeo Santana Unknown episodes
1997 NYPD Blue Warren 1 episode
2002 JAG Seaman Aubrey McBride 1 episode
Play'd: A Hip Hop Story Mayhem Television movie
Half & Half Dante Aldente 1 episode


External links

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