The Steve Harvey Show was a staple in the ’90s sitcom era. The show helped make a household name out of Harvey and lead him down the path to the media empire he now oversees. It also helped make stars out of Cedric The Entertainer and Wendy Raquel Robinson. According to William Lee Scott, who played Bullethead, their late co-star Merlin Santana would have been well on his way to being the show’s biggest star if he had not been so wild and got into so much trouble.
Scott sat down with Comedy Hype last year to discuss his friend and co-star Merlin Santana. According to Scott, the pair were incredibly close, like brothers. He admits their on-screen dynamic reflected their real-life one. According to Scott, Merlin was a super talent just waiting to break out. Unfortunately, Merlin also led a real wildlife. So wild, in fact, that when he passed away, Scott was not surprised.
“I was not 100% surprised when I heard Merlin had passed away. Or the fashion, or the circumstances. He was super talented, but he was wild. You couldn’t tell him what to do, you couldn’t tell him where to go to a fault. It got him killed at the end of the day.”
Merlin Santana played Romeo on The Steve Harvey Show and was a teen heartthrob in the ’90s. He had appeared in several other shows, including The Cosby Show, Sister Sister, and Moesha. Santana was born to Dominican parents in The Bronx, NY, and got his start in Hollywood early on doing modeling.
Merlin would pass at the age of 26 in Los Angeles, California. Santana was reportedly targeted by a man named Damien Andre Gates. Gates’s girlfriend had claimed that Santana made an unwanted advance at her, prompting the incident. Seating in the vehicle with Merlin was actor Brandon Adams who escaped and alerted the authorities.
While talking about Merlin, William Lee Scott could not help but speak honestly on how crazy the late actor lived his life. So much so that Scott’s wife did not let them hang out very much even though she also had a close relationship with Merlin. Scott felt like Merlin had the potential to crossover into a massive success, likening him to Will Smith or Ice Cube. He also discussed Merlin’s plans to release reggaeton music and how the actor was collaborating with fellow Bronx native Big Pun on music.
“He was an incredible Reggaeton rapper,” Scott said of his late friend. “He was cutting an album with Big Pun at the time. He was really talented. He was like yolked, and he was good. He could have been a rapping action hero.”
Scott felt like Merlin’s reputation was ruining opportunities for him and noted that many were aware of how out of control Santana was living. People were put off with how wild he was. “You didn’t know what time he was coming home. You didn’t know who he was going to get into a fight with.”
He concluded with, “I loved him like a brother. He was fast. Look up the details of his passing. It’s like something out of a film. Something that would happen in a movie. Not something that happens to a person in real life. Not guys like Merlin.” Santana would have been 46 this coming March.