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.…more
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.
Merlin attended Acenscion Catholic School in New York.
Merlin was nominated for 5 awards. Two for Outstanding Actor in Comedy Series for the ALMA Award, two for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the Image Award, and one for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Comedy Series for NCLR Bravo Award. All his nominations were from his work in the comedy series The Steve Harvey Show.
His final film role was as Carlos in The Blues and was filmed several months before his tragic death.
(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.