Yaphet Kotto, the American actor known for being the first major Black James Bond villain, has died at the age of 81.
Kotto’s wife, Tessie Sinahon, first revealed the news on Facebook, while Kotto’s agent confirmed his death to Variety. “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,” Sinahon said.
Born in New York in 1939, Kotto played villain Kananga and alter ego Mr Big in Roger Moore’s first Bond movie, Live & Let Die, in 1973. It followed appearances in TV shows including Hawaii Five-O and The Big Valley. Kotto went on to play technician Dennis Parker in Alien in 1979.
Later in his career, Kotto notched up credits on Law & Order and The Wire, while his wife said that he was still receiving offers of work, including a Tom Cruise project. Sinahon added that Kotto planned to release a book.
“One of the best actor [sic] in Hollywood a Legend. Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you everyday, my bestfriend,my rock.I love you and you will always be in my heart.Till we meet again!,” she added in her Facebook post.
Middle of Nowhere filmmaker Ava DuVernay was among those who paid tribute to Kotto:
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