4:29 PM / Friday February 23, 2024

18 Mar 2021

Yaphet Kotto of ‘Live and Let Die,’ ‘Alien,’ dies at 81

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
March 18, 2021 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Yaphet Kotto appears on his wedding day in Baltimore, Md. on July 12, 1998. Kotto, the commanding actor of the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” and as Lt. Al Giardello on the 90’s NBC police drama “Homicide: Life on the Street, died Monday, March 15, 2021 at age 81. Kotto’s wife, Tessie Sinahon, announced his death Monday in a Facebook post. She said he died Monday in the Philippines. Kotto’s agent, Ryan Goldhar, confirmed Kotto’s death. (AP Photo/John Gillis, File)

By Jake Coyle

associated press

NEW YORK  — Yaphet Kotto, the commanding actor who brought tough magnetism and stately gravitas to films including the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die” and “Alien,” has died. He was 81.

Kotto’s wife, Tessie Sinahon, announced his death Monday in a Facebook post. She said he died Monday in the Philippines. Kotto’s agent, Ryan Goldhar, confirmed Kotto’s death.

“You played a villain on some of your movies but for me you’re a real hero and to a lot of people,” wrote Sinahon.

Standing 6-foot-3-inches, Yaphet Frederick Kotto was a regular and compelling presence across films, television and Broadway beginning with the films “Nothing But a Man” (1964) and “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968). He made his stage debut in a Boston production of “Othello.” In 1969, he replaced James Earl Jones in the Pulitzer-winning “The Great White Hope” on Broadway. His big-screen breakthrough came as Lieutenant Pope in 1972’s “Across 110th Street.”

Raised in the Bronx and a descendent of Cameroonian royalty on his father’s side, Kotto was best known for his infuriated FBI agent in “Midnight Run” who has his badge stolen by Robert De Niro, the James Bond villain Mr. Big in “Live and Let Die” and the technician Dennis Parker in 1979’s “Alien.”

“He’s one of those actors who deserved more than the parts he got,” wrote director Ava Duvernay on Twitter. “But he took those parts and made them wonderful all the same.”

Kotto was nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 1977 television movie “Raid on Entebbe.” In Paul Schrader’s 1978 “Blue Collar,” about Detroit auto workers, he starred alongside Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel as the ex-convict Smokey James.

Kotto also co-starred in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger action film “The Running Man” and played Al Giardello from 1993 to 1999 on the NBC series “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

“Memories and respect for Yaphet Kotto, whose film career was legend even before he came to Baltimore to grace our television drama,” said David Simon, author of the book that launched the “Homicide” show. “But for me, he’ll always be Al Giardello, the unlikeliest Sicilian, gently pulling down the office blinds to glower at detectives in his squadroom.”

Kotto sometimes struggled with being typecast as a detective, and he lamented how many of his characters died in the end.

“I’m always called powerful, bulky or imposing,” Kotto told the Baltimore Sun in 1993. “Or they say I fill up a room. I’m a 200-pound, 6-foot-3-inch Black guy. And I think I have this image of a monster. It’s very difficult.”

“I want to try to play a much more sensitive man. A family man,” he added. “There is an aspect of Black people’s lives that is not running or jumping.”

Kotto is survived by his wife and six children.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Philly NAACP

Philadelphia NAACP News

February 18, 2024

Tweet Email Tweet Email Related Posts Philadelphia NAACP news as of Feb. 2 Philadelphia NAACP Branch News...

Color Of Money

How to give your business an inviting local flair using design

February 17, 2024

Tweet Email BPT Think of local businesses that feel connected to your community. What comes to mind?...


Four tips to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle

February 17, 2024

Tweet Email BPTIn honor of American Heart Month this February, you can make positive changes to your...


Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl 2024 

February 12, 2024

Tweet Email The Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the San Francisco 49ers, becoming the 2024 Super Bowl champions. The...

Fur Babies Rule!

Bow to Wow! America’s top 10 shelter dog makeovers

February 3, 2024

Tweet Email BPTZen was rescued from a horrendous hoarding case. She arrived at the shelter with mange...


Understanding and reducing stroke risks

January 6, 2024

Tweet Email FAMILY FEATURES As the second leading cause of death worldwide, according to World Health Organization,...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff