The talented, and often enigmatic, actor Yaphet Kotto has passed away at age 81, according to a Facebook post made by his wife Tessie Sinahon late last night.
Born in Harlem, NY in 1939, Mr. Kotto studied acting at the Actors Mobile Theater Studio and made his theatrical debut in the cast of Othello at age 19. His first feature film was as an uncredited extra in 1963’s 4 for Texas (which starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Marin, Charles Bronson and Ursula Andress!). After 4 for Texas, he embarked on a long career that included roles in the 1968 Academy Award nominated The Thomas Crowne Affair and as Mr. Big in the James Bond film Live and Let Die.
Yaphet also graced the screen in some of the best blaxploitation films of the 70’s, including Truck Turner alongside Isaac Hayes, Friday Foster with Pam Grier and The Monkey Hustle with Rudy Ray Moore. However, it was his role as Parker in Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien that propelled him into the limelight. Fans will also remember him for his work in Midnight Run with Robert Di Nero, The Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger and in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Here is the announcement from his wife:
I’m saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30pm Philippine time. This is a very painfall moment for me to inform you all fans, friends and family of my husband. We still have a lot of plans honey that we discussed you have a lot of interviews waiting and you have movie offers like G.I. Joe and the movie of Tom Cruise and others. You still have plan to release your book and build a religious organization based on Yogananda’s Teachings. 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 everyday, my bestfriend, my rock. I love you and you will always be in my heart. Till we meet again!