Screen legend Yaphet Kotto has died.
Yaphet Kotto was an actor whose notable roles include engineer Parker in the sci-fi classic “Alien” and Lieutenant Al Giardello in TV’s “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He reportedly passed away on March 14, 2021 in the Phillipines where he lived with his wife.
In a statement on Facebook his wife wrote:
“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,” she wrote. “…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 best friend, my rock.”
Remembering Yaphet Kotto
By the age of 16, Kotto was studying acting at the Actors Mobile Theater Studio, and at 19, he made his professional acting debut in Othello. He was a member of the Actors Studio in New York. Kotto got his start in acting on Broadway, where he appeared in The Great White Hope, among other productions.
His film debut was in 1963, aged 23, in an uncredited role in 4 For Texas. He performed in Michael Roemer‘s Nothing But a Man (1964) and played a supporting role in the caper film The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). He played John Auston, a confused Marine Lance Corporal, in the 1968 episode, “King of the Hill”, on the first season of Hawaii Five-O.
In 1973 he landed the role of the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, as well as roles in Across 110th Street and Truck Turner. Kotto portrayed Idi Amin in the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe. He starred as an auto worker in the 1978 film Blue Collar. The following year he played Parker in the sci-fi–horror film Alien.
He followed with a supporting role in the 1980 prison drama Brubaker. In 1983, he guest-starred as mobster Charlie “East Side Charlie” Struthers in The A-Team episode “The Out-of-Towners”. In 1987, he appeared in the futuristic sci-fi movie The Running Man, and in 1988, in the action-comedy Midnight Run, in which he portrayed Alonzo Moseley, an FBI agent.
Remembering Yaphet Kotto
Kotto was cast as a religious man living in the southwestern desert country in the 1967 episode, “A Man Called Abraham”, on the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor.
In the story line, Abraham convinces a killer named Cassidy (Rayford Barnes) that Cassidy can change his heart despite past crimes. When Cassidy is sent to the gallows, Abraham provides spiritual solace. Bing Russell also appeared in this segment.
Kotto retired from film acting in the mid-1990s, though had one final film role in Witless Protection (2008). However, he continued to take on television roles. Kotto portrayed Lieutenant Al Giardello in the long-running television series Homicide: Life on the Street.
He has written the book Royalty and also wrote scripts for Homicide. In 2014, he voiced “Parker” for the video game Alien: Isolation, reprising the role he played in the movie Alien in 1979.
Remembering Yaphet Kotto the ‘Alien’ and ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ actor, dead at 81.
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