'Alien,' 'Homicide' actor Yaphet Kotto dead at 81

March 16 (UPI) -- Yaphet Kotto, an actor whose credits include the films Alien and Live and Let Die as well as a long tenure on TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, has died, his agent announced. He was 81.

Kotto, whose career spanned from the 1960s to the 1990s, died Sunday in the Philippines, where he lived with his wife, agent Ryan Goldhar said. The cause of death was not released.


The actor's long list of credits includes the films Alien, The Running Man, Midnight Run, The Thomas Crown Affair and horror sequel Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. In 1973, he portrayed iconic James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die.

Kotto was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1977 for his role as Ugandan President Idi Amin in the TV movie Raid on Entebbe. He was best known to TV audiences as Lt. Al Giardello on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street.

"Memories and respect for Yaphet Kotto, whose film career was legend even before he came to Baltimore to grace our television drama. But for me, he'll always be Al Giardello, the unlikeliest Sicilian, gently pulling down the office blinds to glower at detectives in his squadroom," Homicide writer and producer David Simon wrote on Twitter.


Kotto's wife, Tessie Sinahon, first revealed his death in a Facebook post Monday night.

"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," Sinahon 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."

Directors Ava DuVernay and Edgar Wright also tweeted tributes to the actor.

"Yaphet Kotto. My Mom's favorite," DuVernay wrote. "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. 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," Wright tweeted.

Notable deaths of 2021

Betty White attends the media preview for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Beastly Ball fundraiser at the Los Angeles Zoo in Los Angeles on June 11, 2015. The actress died December 31. She was 99 years old. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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