Yaphet Kotto, who played supervillain Mr Big in “Live and Let Die” and starred in; “Alien,” has died at the age of 81.
Kotto’s wife, Tessie Sinahon, posted on Facebook that the actor died Monday (15 MARCH 2021). “I’m saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years,” she wrote. She called him “A good man, a good father, a good husband and a decent human being, very rare to find.”
Kotto starred as Al Giardello in hit TV series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and was also credited as a scriptwriter.
He appeared alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in action movie “The Running Man,” and starred in “Midnight Run” with Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. He received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for his role as President Idi Amin in TV movie “Raid on Entebbe” in 1976.
With his stout frame and imposing glare, Kotto was often called on to smolder and intimidate, playing villains like Dr. Kananga, a.k.a. Mr. Big, in Roger Moore’s debut as Bond in 1973’s Live and Let Die. But his ability to rattle off rapid-fire dialogue with Shakespearean fluency, even while summoning an infectious grin, brought an intelligence and depth to his roles that the material Kotto was working with sometimes lacked.
Yaphet Kotto was born in New York City, the son of a father who traced his roots to royalty in Cameroon and a mother who was a nurse and army officer, according to his biography on the IMDB website. He was raised by his grandparents in the Bronx.
“You were so memorable in every role you did. Your presence and talent were undeniable and magnetic,” Viola Davis said in a tweet addressed to Kotto.
“He’s one of those actors who deserved more than the parts he got,” director Ava DuVernay said. “But he took those parts and made them wonderful all the same.”
Yaphet Kotto. My Mom’s favorite. He’s one of those actors who deserved more than the parts he got. But he took those parts and made them wonderful all the same. A star. Rest well, sir. pic.twitter.com/BqeuVc7DSB
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 16, 2021