The daughter of Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, Santiago's family moved from the Bronx to Homestead, Florida, when she was 13.
Saundra 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.
She 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.
One Life to Live
Isabella Santi/Angelina Parades
To Sir With Love 2
Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan
New York Undercover
April 13, 1995
The Cosby Mysteries
With Hostile Intent
Law & Order
November 18, 1992
Detective Gina Navarro Calabrese
Nick and Jane
End of August
A View From the Bridge
The Young Girl and the Monsoon
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bronx, New York
DATE OF BIRTH: April 13, 1957
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Miami and a Masters of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University.
MARITAL STATUS: Married musician, Roger Squintero, on November 21, 1999