Yaphet Kotto, best known for playing a James Bond villain, died on March 15, 2021 in the Philippines.
We are very sorry to learn that Yaphet Kotto, who played Dr. Kananga in Live And Let Die, has passed away at the age of 81. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/wssYWvy6VI
— James Bond (@007) March 16, 2021
He was 81 years old.
No cause of death has been given.
His third wife, Tessie Sinahon, is a native of the Philippines; the couple has been married since 1998.
Sinahon announced his death.
“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.”
Notable Movie Roles
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
The role that made Kotto a star happened in 1973 in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die.
Kotto portrayed Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big.
He was the first African American actor to portray a Bond villain.
In 1979, he was cast in the science fiction horror film Alien starring Sigourney Weaver.
Kotto portrayed the technician Dennis Parker.
Sigourney Weaver paid tribute to Kotto by saying:
“Every day Yaphet Kotto blew me away on the set of ‘Alien.’ He just went for it in every scene, making the stakes higher and higher and giving each scene a terrifying reality. It was a nonstop master class for me and I will always be grateful to him. Rest In Peace Parker…Over and out, Ripley.”
His movie career spanned 55 years from his 1963 uncredited appearance in 4 for Texas as an extra.
In 2008, he appeared in his final role as Ricardo Bodi (alias Alonzo Mosley) in Witless Protection.
Long TV Career
Kotto did not limit his work to movie roles.
He also had a long small screen career from 1966-2001.
Kotto appeared on cult classics like Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
He also was in episodes of Hawaii Five-O, Murder She Wrote, and The A-Team.
His final television role was in a movie called Stiletto Dance in 2001.
Yaphet Kotto is survived by his wife Sinahon and six children from his two previous marriages.