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April 13, 1957|
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Roger Squitero (1999-present)|
Saundra Santiago (born April 13, 1957) is an American actress. She portrayed Det. Gina Calabrese on 1980s television series Miami Vice.
Early life and education
Santiago is the daughter of a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother. Raised in the South Bronx, New York City, where she attended Our Lady of Victory grammar school. When she was 13 years old her family moved to Homestead, Florida.
Santiago graduated from South Dade Senior High School and attended the University of Miami on a scholarship, majoring in psychology. As a University of Miami student, she became interested in acting. After graduation, she went on to post-graduate study in theater and arts at Southern Methodist University, eventually earning a master's degree. Santiago joined the company of regional summer stock theater, Timber Lake Playhouse, Mount Carroll, Illinois, performing many roles including Maria in West Side Story in the 1980 season.
Santiago is best known for her role as Detective Gina Calabrese on the hit 1980s television show Miami Vice. She spent three years playing the role of crime boss Carmen Santos on the long-running CBS soap opera Guiding Light. Coincidentally, she appeared simultaneously in a recurring role on The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's next door neighbor, Jeannie Cusamano, and as her twin sister, Joan.
Saundra also had a role in the movie Beat Street (1984) as Carmen Carraro, the girlfriend of Ramo the graffiti artist, and appeared as teacher Louisa Rodriguez in the made-for-TV film sequel To Sir, with Love II (1996), opposite Sidney Poitier.
Additionally, on television, Santiago did a short-term role on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live after leaving Guiding Light. She was a guest star on Law & Order in the 1992 episode "Prince of Darkness" (episode 3.8) and in the 2004 episode "Veteran's Day" (episode 14.15). In 2009, she returned to One Life to Live, taking over the role of Carlotta Vega. In 2011, she took a guest role as Patti D'agostino in the Person of Interest episode Witness. In 2014, she portrayed Marciela Acosta, the wife of gang leader Javier Acosta, in the Fox TV Series Gang Related. In 2016, she played the role of Carmen Baez the mother of Detective Maria Baez in "Stomping Grounds" the 13th episode of the 6th season of the CBS police procedural drama Blue Bloods.
- Juan de la Maza (6 December 2011). "Saundra Santiago, an Actress of Cuban Origin on Miami Vice and The Sopranos". Cubanow.
- "One Life to Live: Patricia Mauceri Out, Saundra Santiago In!". Soaps.com. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- ""Person of Interest" Witness". Internet Movie Database. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Santiago, Saundra (16 March 2012). "The Blog: A Working Actor's Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- ""Gang Related" Marciela Acosta". Internet Movie Database.