Yaphet Kotto made his mark in film and television by playing imposing tough guys and grizzled individuals fighting against the trials and tribulations of life. It is being reported that Kotto died on Monday (March) 15 according to an announcement from his wife via Facebook.
Kotto was born November 15, 1939, in New York, N.Y. to a father reportedly of Cameroonian royalty lineage and an American mother of Panamanian and West Indian descent.
Kotto began studying the craft of acting as a teenager and at 19, he made his debut as an actor in Othello. Kotto joined the Actors Studio in New York and appeared in productions on Broadway, honing his skills on stage. Kotto made his big-screen debut in 1963 in an uncredited role at 23 and the following year, he had a starring role in Nothing But A Man. Kotto also played a role in The Thomas Crown Affair in 1968.
Among Kotto’s standout roles, his role as Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big in the 1973 James Bond thriller Live and Let Die was a big splash. In 1976, Kotto started as President Idi Amin in the film Road To Entebbe for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. In 1979, Kotto starred in the science fiction hit Alien, and later went on to star in several films typically as a law enforcement official of rank and the like.
In 1993, Kotto began a seven-season run on the series Homicide: Life on the Street based on The Wire and former The Baltimore Sun writer David Simon’s book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Kotto’s final film role came in 2008.
Kotto is survived by his wife Tessie Sinahon, whom he married in 1998. He is also survived by six children from his previous two marriages, reportedly.