Photo: Getty
  /  03.16.2021


Yaphet Kotto, the legendary Alien star and Bond villain, has passed away. In a Facebook post, Kotto’s wife Tessie Sinahon revealed the 81-year-old actor passed away near Manila, Philippines on Sunday night (March 14).

“I’m saddened and still in shocked [sic] of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30 p.m. Philippine time,” she wrote on Monday (March 15). “Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you every day, my best friend, my rock. I love you and you will always be in my heart. Till we meet again!”

On social media, tributes poured in for Kotto. The New York City native starred in NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” The Running Man and acted opposite Robert De Niro in the 1988 comedy thriller Midnight Run.

“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,” the James Bond Twitter wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

“Yaphet Kotto could make every scene crackle,” filmmaker Charles de Lauzirika added. “He was a force of nature in many roles, and certainly as Parker in ALIEN. But I also loved the more poker-faced side of him, such as Mosely in MIDNIGHT RUN, as well. A terrific actor. R.I.P.”

On Twitter, Ava DuVernay wrote, “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.” 

Kotto was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Baltimore Police Lieutenant Al Girardello on “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

“Giardello is one of the few characters on television that presented a positive Black man in a positive role with strengths and weaknesses and all the rest,” Kotto said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. “When they created Giardello, they created a bigger-than-life character. Consequently, people who grew up on John Wayne and the kind of bigger-than-life characters like Clark Gable that Hollywood used to give us saw Giardello as a father figure or maybe an uncle. I know this because of the way people reacted to me and the character publicly and privately.” 

See fans’ tributes to Kotto and his prolific career below. Rest in Peace.

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