In 1972, he was cast as Julio, the sidekick to crotchety junkyard entrepreneur Fred Sanford, He was introduced in the second season episode, “The Puerto Ricans Are Coming.” The show, developed by All in the Family creators Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear, led to another memorable appearance in one of their vehicles, as Sierra played a radical Jewish vigilante in the episode “Archie is Branded” in 1973.
The versatile Sierra also was tapped later to portray Carlos “El Puerco” Valdez, a Malaguayan counter-revolutionist who kidnaps Jessica (Katherine Helmond) on ABC’s Soap.
After Sanford and Son, Sierra struck comedy gold again, appearing in 1975 as one of the original New York detectives in Barney Miller. Sierra played Chano on the show.
Sierra left Barney Miller at the end of the second season, moving over to another sitcom helmed by Barney Miller creator Danny Arnold. A.E.S. Hudson Street was set in a New York emergency room, but ended after just six episodes.
Sierra’s career continued as a recurring character on such shows as Hill Street Blues, Zorro and Son, Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote, among many others.
Continuing his steady career, Sierra also appeared in the film The Trouble With Spies (1987), Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992), Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994), Vampires (1998) and Mafia! (1998).
He is survived by his wife, Helene. No memorial plans have been announced.