Al Matthews, star of 'Aliens', dies at 75

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Al Matthews in Aliens (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Al Matthews, the actor who played Gunnery Sergeant Apone in Aliens, has been found dead at his home in Spain.

El Pais reports that a neighbour called the emergency services yesterday, who arrived at his home in Orihuela Costa, Alicante.

The cause of death is unknown and will be determined by an autopsy. He was 75.

He began acting following a career in the US Marines, serving in Vietnam and receiving two purple hearts, before becoming the first black soldier in the 1st Marine Division to be promoted to sergeant.

Born in Brooklyn, he began his acting – and also singing – career in the UK, making the top 20 with a single called Fool in 1975.

He went on to play Benny Green’s father in several episodes of Grange Hill, and also appeared in shows like Shelley, The Professionals, the BBC2 Playhouse series and The Comic Strip Presents.

Matthews also appeared in Superman III in 1983, before scoring the role of Apone in Aliens under director James Cameron in 1986, a role he reprised years later in the 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The part was said to be the inspiration for Sergeant Avery Johnson in the Halo game series.

Other roles came in movies like The Fifth Element, Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and Burt Reynolds movie Rough Cut.

Matthews reportedly retired to Spain in 2005.

According to IMDb, his last role, in a western movie called The Price of Death, is currently in post-production.

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