Actor Sonny Landham, best known for his role in 1987 sci-fi action hit ‘Predator,’ has passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 76.
Born William M Landham in Canton, Georgia in February 1941, the Native American actor made his first on-camera appearances in pornography, as well as some stunt work, but after a role in Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic ‘The Warriors,’ a career in action cinema followed. This included supporting roles in Hill’s ’48 Hours’ and an appearance on TV’s ‘The A-Team.’
However, it was his role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the famously musclebound ensemble of John McTiernan’s ‘Predator’ that Landham will always be most recognised for. Schwarzenegger was among the first to pay tribute to his late co-star on Twitter:
Sonny Landham was such a joy to work with on Predator – so talented, so fun to be around. We’ll miss him. My thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/SoNbRJEwgV
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) August 19, 2017
The role of Billy drew on Landham’s Native American heritage, and the one-liner heavy script gave him some memorable dialogue: “there’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man.”
Legend has it that the temperamental Landham was assigned a personal bodyguard on the set of ‘Predator,’ not for his own protection, but to keep the actor from getting into fights with others.
Post-‘Predator,’ Landham’s credits included ‘Action Jackson’ and ‘Lock Up.’ He also made one credit as director, ‘Billy Lone Bear,’ in which he played the lead.
The 2000s saw Landham attempt to follow the lead of his ‘Predator’ co-stars Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura by breaking into politics, campaigning for seats with both the Republican and Libertarian parties, without success. Various controversies, not least a stint in prison after making abusive phone calls to his ex-wife, doubtless did not help his political career.
Landham is survived by two children, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies.