James Bond star Yaphet Kotto remembered as ‘brilliant magnetic presence’

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James Bond star Yaphet Kotto has been remembered as “a brilliant magnetic presence” following his death at the age of 81.

The actor was best known for his role as villain Kanaga and his alter ego Mr Big in Live And Let Die, opposite Roger Moore’s 007.

He will also be remembered for his turn as crew member Dennis Parker in the 1979 hit Alien, his performance as Alonzo Mosely in the Robert De Niro film Midnight Run and for his role in TV police drama Homicide: Life On The Street.

He later appeared in Law & Order and The Wire, and his widow said that he was still receiving offers of work, including a Tom Cruise project.

His widow Sinahon Thessa said that he died on Monday in the Philippines.

I'm saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30pm…

Posted by Sinahon Thessa on Monday, March 15, 2021

She wrote on Facebook: “I’m saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years.”

She added: “We still have a lot of plans honey that we discussed you have a lot of interviews waiting and you have movie offers like G.I. Joe and the movie of Tom Cruise and others.

“You still have plan to release your book and build a religious organisation based on Yogananda’s Teachings.

“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, very rare to find.

“One of the best actor 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!”

Kotto also appeared in The Running Man opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and starred as former Ugandan president Idi Amin in Raid On Entebbe.

Baby Driver director Edgar Wright wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Selma filmmaker 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.”

Author Don Winslow wrote: “Yaphet Kotto. We lost a great one tonight. Rest in Power.”

Writer Marc Bernardin said: “Damn. Funnier than he had any right to be. Versatile as f***. Royalty in Cameroon. Jewish, too.

“Made everything just that much better, from Alien and Live And Let Die to Midnight Run and The Running Man. I should dig up his Othello. I bet it’s a sight to see.”

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