Victor Argo, 69; Character Actor Played Gangsters and Cops

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Victor Argo, 69, the stocky character actor who appeared in "Anna in the Tropics" on Broadway this season and was familiar in small film roles, died April 7 in New York City of lung cancer.

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Nilo Cruz, Argo played Santiago, the owner of a cigar factory. Before "Anna in the Tropics" went to Broadway, Argo had the role in the McCarter Theater's production of the play in Princeton, N.J.

Argo, a Brooklyn native, was also a popular actor in regional theaters, including Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum, where he appeared in Eduardo Machado's "Floating Islands."

In film, he was often cast as ethnic heavies, gangsters or police officers for such directors as Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen. Argo made his feature motion picture debut in the 1972 film "Boxcar Bertha" for Scorsese and his television film debut two years later in "Smile Jenny, You're Dead," the pilot of the ABC series "Harry-O."

Argo's screen credits include "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "The Rose," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "New York Stories." In 2001 he played Jennifer Lopez's father in "Angel Eyes."

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