Yaphet Kotto, an American actor known for his performances in “Alien,” the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” and the television series ”Life on the Street,” has died.
His wife, Tessie Sinahon, announced his death in a Facebook statement on Monday night, March 15.
“I’m saddened and still shocked at the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30 pm Philippine time, you played a villain on some of your movies but for me, you’re a real hero and to a lot of people also. A good man, a good father, a good husband and a decent human being, very rare to find. One of the best actor in Hollywood a Legend. Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you every day, my best friend, my rock.”
Kotto’s other movie credits included the 1980s action films The Running Man and Midnight Run.
He also received an Emmy nomination for playing former Ugandan President Idi Amin in the 1977 movie Raid on Entebbe.
Kotto, 81, was born in New York to a Cameroonian immigrant father and a US Army nurse and studied acting from the age of 16. At 19, he made his professional theatre debut in Othello, and later performed on Broadway in the great white hope.
His first few film projects included Nothing But a Man in 1964 and The Thomas Crown Affair in 1968.
Kotto drew plaudits for his role as the first black Bond villain Dr Kananga, an evil Caribbean diplomat masquerading as a New York drug lord starring Roger Moore.
He then had roles in 1974’s Truck Turner and 1978’s Blue Collar. In Ridley Scott’s Alien, he took the role of the space ship’s engineer Dennis Parker.
Following the film’s success, Kotto turned down a role in Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back because he was wary of becoming typecast in the sci-fi genre.
Kotto went on to play a supporting role in Brubaker in 1980, and then appear as a resistance fighter alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987’s The Running Man, and as an FBI agent in Robert De Niro’s Midnight Run the following year.
His other film credits also included Bill Cosby’s Man and Boy (1971), Across 110th Street (1972), Report to the Commissioner (1975), The Star Chamber (1983), Warning Sign (1985), Eye of the Tiger (1986) and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).
Kotto is survived by six children and had been married three times.