Merlin Santana

Recent Role:

Romeo Santana on The Steve Harvey Show


Washington Heights, NY

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Originally from New York, NY, both his parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. for a better life. His mother wanted a career in show business to keep him out of trouble. He began as an advertising model at age 3 for a fast food chain. He then began real acting on "The Cosby Show" (1984). At 15, he co-starred in the show "Getting By" (1993). His best known role was in the "Steve Harvey Show" (1996), as Romeo Santana. He later was known as an aspiring rapper. On November 9, 2002 Merlin Santana was shot to death by two armed men - at the age of 26 - in Los Angeles, California while sitting in a car in the passenger's seat. The person who was with him was wounded but survived. Merlin was buried on November 18, 2002. He left behind a daughter. Merlin had been falsely accused of rape by Monique King where at that time she was a minor. This led to her two male friends - Brandon Douglas Bynes and Damien Andre Gates - to kill Merlin. Damien Andre Gates was 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 23 years' imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. Monique King was sentenced to eight years in juvenile prison for her role in the crime and convicted of second-degree murder and attempted murder.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Merlin Thomas Santana



    Birth Place:

    Washington Heights, NY

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (2)

    • (Referring to the origin of his name) Merlin Santana: Well I'm not supposed to be existing right now, really. That's why. I was coming out feet first at about four months so they operated and my mom turned me around. I turned back around in the womb and they said "well he's either going to be retarded or something is going to be wrong with him either physically or mentally." I came out and I was perfect, perfect weight. They said I was normal. It was magic so they named me Merlin. Or at least they thought I was normal!

    • (Answer to when asked what roles he wants in the future) Merlin Santana: I would probably want to play someone intellectual, a college grad, a lawyer, a dentist, a professional, a doctor of something, or if not, a bad guy. I always go to movies and cheer for the bad guy. Sort of like Jack Nicholson's The Shining character. I like those insane, crazy, out of this world characters.

    Trivia (8)

    • In his first screen appearance in the Woody Allen film The Purple Rose he was credited as an extra.

    • Santana once stated that if his mom hadn't gotten him into acting he would not be acting, instead would have become another statistic.

    • Kingsley Gardner (A&R/Songwriter/Producer) worked with Merlin to produce the song Ride On.

    • Merlin's favorite place in New York was Washington Heights and Harlem.

    • Santana chose to keep his last name for his character in The Steve Harvey Show to represent his Afro-Latino heritage. In one episode of "The Steve Harvey Show", he made history as the first time when Afro-Latinos communicated in Spanish on a commercial network.

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