Actor Joe Santos of 'The Rockford Files' dies

Actor Joe Santos, shown in 1980 in the television comedy "Me and Maxx."

Story highlights

  • Joe Santos, 84, played police Sgt. Dennis Becker on "The Rockford Files"
  • Santos had a recurring role as mobster Angelo Garepe in "The Sopranos"

(CNN)TV actor Joe Santos, best known for his role as police Sgt. Dennis Becker on the 1970s show "The Rockford Files," has died, according to his agent, Alicia Beekman. He was 84.

Beekman could not provide any details about his death.
    Santos was a durable character actor who often played "good cop" roles, as in "The Blue Knight," according to the Internet Movie Database.
    He had a recurring role as Angelo Garepe in "The Sopranos" until his character was killed and tossed into the trunk of a car.
    Born Joseph Minieri in Brooklyn, Santos was a football player at Fordham University and turned semi-pro before finding a new avenue in acting, IMDb said.
    He struggled in show business and worked blue-collar jobs until his friend Al Pacino helped him get a role in the 1971 movie "Panic in Needle Park."
    From 1974-80 he played Becker, the friend of the easygoing ex-convict-turned-private investigator Jim Rockford (played by James Garner) in "The Rockford Files."
    He is survived by his wife and two children.