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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 08:28 GMT
US comedy actor shot dead
Merlin Santana
Santana starred in several US sitcoms
Actor Merlin Santana, who recently starred with Eddie Murphy in film comedy Showtime, has been shot dead in Los Angeles.

Santana, 26, was killed as he sat in the passenger seat of a parked car on Saturday, police have said.

He was seen as a rising star, playing Hector in Showtime alongside Murphy and Robert De Niro.

But he was best-known in the United States for playing a bumbling student in sitcom The Steve Harvey Show, which ran for six years until February.

He also portrayed a rapper caught up in the violent east coast-west coast hip-hop feud for a VH1 movie.

Gunman

Santana was shot at about 0230 local time (1030 GMT) on Saturday, police said.

A spokesperson said at least one person approached the car and shot Santana.

The driver was not injured and flagged down police. Paramedics were called, but the actor was pronounced dead at the scene.

No-one has been arrested and police said the motive was unclear.

Joker

Born in New York, Santana got one of his first roles playing Stanley, an eight-year-old admirer of Rudy Huxtable in hit TV comedy The Cosby Show.

He made his name in The Steve Harvey show, which was set in the 1990s and saw Santana star as Romeo, a student who played practical jokes on his music teacher.

The role earned him several nominations for awards honouring black and Hispanic acting.

He was also seen in sitcoms Getting By and Moesha, and drama Under One Roof with James Earl Jones.

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