Yaphet Kotto, star of Alien and Live and Let Die, dies at 81
Actor Yaphet Kotto has died at the age of 81. Kotto was best known for his roles in the films Alien and Midnight Run and the TV show Homicide: Life on the Street. Kotto's death was confirmed to Variety by his agent Ryan Goldhar.
Kotto's early film credits included 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair and 1972's The Limit, which he both directed and starred in, playing a highway patrolman. The following year, he portrayed the role of Bond villain Mr. Big in the 007 adventure Live and Let Die and was then nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Ugandan president Idi Amin in the 1977 TV movie Raid on Entebbe. He would go on to become a familiar face on the big screen, appearing in 1978's Blue Collar, 1987's The Running Man, and the 1991 horror sequel Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, among other films.
Directors Ava DuVernay and Edgar Wright have both paid tribute to the late actor on Twitter.
"Yaphet Kotto. My Mom's favorite," wrote DuVernay. "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."
"RIP Yaphet Kotto, a brilliant magnetic presence, bringing gravitas & naturalism to deep space or underground Bond lair," wrote Wright. "So memorable as Parker in Alien, Kananga (Mr Big) in Live & Let Die, Smokey James in Blue Collar or in the simmering funny rage of Midnight Run's Alonzo Mosely."