Merlin Santana was an Afro-Latino-American television actor, well known for his role as the teenager Romeo on ‘The Steve Harvey Show’. His characters of Rudy Huxtable's boyfriend Stanley in ‘The Cosby Show’, Marcus Henry in ‘Under One Roof’, and Marcus Dixon in ‘Getting By’, boosted his career graph. Pushed by his mother into the show business, he began modelling at the age of three for a fast food chain advertisement. He started getting several lucrative offers after getting noticed for playing Stanley on ‘The Cosby Show’. In 2002, when Santana was only 26, he was shot in the head by a man named Damien Andre Gates while he was sitting in a parked car in South Los Angeles.He died instantly. According to an officer involved in the case, Monique King, who was Damien Andre Gates’ girlfriend, had falsely claimed that Santana had made sexual advances towards her, leading to the murder.
At the age of nine, Merlin Santana made his first screen appearance as an extra in the film ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’ by Woody Allen in 1985. In 1991, he featured in a recurring role on ‘The Cosby Show’ as Stanley, the boyfriend of Rudy Huxtable, when he was 15. His performance was admired and his acting abilities were recognized. In 1993, he was cast as Marcus Dixon in an American sitcom, ‘Getting By’, which was first aired on ABC and then on NBC. However, as it could not garner good ratings, it was canceled after a year.
In November 1994, he was cast in another television sitcom ‘Sister, Sister’ as Joey, who falls in love with Tia and Tamera. In 1995, he appeared as Marcus Henry in the family drama ‘Under One Roof’, aired on CBS, which was also short-lived. He was also cast as Ohagi on ‘Moesha’, a sitcom series that was aired on the UPN network in 1996. It ran for more than five years.
In 1996, he also landed the role of Romeo on ‘The Steve Harvey Show’, which aired on The WB Television Network for six years. In 2001, he played the role of Jermaine in the movie ‘Flossin’, and in 2002, he was featured in the VH1 TV movie, ‘Play'd: A Hip Hop Story’. While ‘Half & Half’ on UPN was his last TV series, his last film was the comedy film ‘The Blues’, which was released in 2003.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Merlin Santana was born on March 14, 1976, in New York City. His parents were from the Dominican Republic. Although we do not know anything about his father, his mother was Lea Santana, who pushed him into show business to keep him away from the tough streets of New York.
On November 9, 2002, Merlin was shot in the head and killed, as he and his best friend and former child actor, Brandon Quintin Adams, were sitting in a parked car. They had just left another man's house in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. All of a sudden, a man named Damien Andre Gates fired the shot that penetrated the right-front passenger headrest of the car, and entered Merlin’s head, killing him on the spot.
It was reported that Monique King, who was Damien’s girlfriend, had falsely claimed that Merlin had made sexual advances towards her, which led to her boyfriend killing Merlin in rage. She also helped him escape after he shot Santana, said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler.
Damien was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder of Adams, and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences plus 70 years in prison. Brandon Douglas Bynes, who helped Damien, received a 23-year sentence. Monique was charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder. She was acquitted on two murder charges, but received 10 years in juvenile custody. Merlin was buried on November 18, 2002, at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.