Versatile actor Alex Colon died in Los Angeles on Jan. 6 after an extended illness. He was 53.

Born in Puerto Rico, Colon moved to New York and made his stage debut in 1970 as the impudent delivery boy in Neil Simon’s uncharacteristically somber “The Gingerbread Lady” at the Plymouth Theater.

He later directed an L.A. Actors Theater workshop presentation of Miguel Pinero’s “Short Eyes,” which saw full treatments by Ralph Waite at the Westwood Playhouse and by Joe Papp at Lincoln Center in New York in 1974.

In New York, Colon directed for the Nosotros Theater and New York’s Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.

Colon’s early film work includes “The Cross and the Switchblade” (1970), “The Hospital” (1971), “Harry and Tonto” (1974) and “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” (1979).

More recent appearances include “Back Roads,” “Deal of the Century,” “Death of an Angel,” “Deep Cover,” “The Mighty Quinn” and “Red Scorpion.” Colon also appeared in several miniseries and telepix.

He is survived by a sister and a daughter.