Tuesday, March 16, 2021

RIP Yaphet Kotto (1939–2021)

I was greeted this morning with the sad news that actor Yaphet Kotto has died at the age of 81, after a lifetime of memorable film roles. 

For many people of my generation and interests, Kotto will perhaps be best remembered as Parker, chief engineer of the Nostromo in the 1979 film, Alien. Parker is a great character, well portrayed, and a perennial inspiration to me when thinking about Traveller characters. Of course, Kotto is equally well known as the dapper and charismatic Dr. Kananga (and his alias Mr Big) in the 1973 James Bond movie, Live and Let Die. In the 1990s, he played Lieutenant Al Giardello on the television program, Homicide, another memorable role that Kotto truly inhabited.

I'm always sorry to write posts like this, but that's what comes with the passage of time. None of us is getting any younger, after all. Farewell, Mr Kotto; you will be missed.


  1. Sorry to hear this. He was in quite a lot of the films and television shows I grew up with and had along and very busy career. Particularly liked him as Lt. Giardello on Homicide, which might have been his longest-running role.

  2. Kotto is one of those towering character actors from the 70s and 80s who just keeps turning up in one uncut gem after another, his performances always understated, always rock-solid. In addition to Alien and Live and Let Die I remember him from Across 110th Street (primarily remembered, perhaps, for its incredible title track), Brubaker, The Running Man... I even vaguely remember catching him with Tommy Lee Jones in The Park Is Mine on TV at some point in my teenage years.

    RIP Mr. Kotto. You were always a pleasure to watch and to hear.

  3. I really liked him as special agent Alonzo Mosely in Midnight Run with Robert De Niro

    1. Yes! I remember thinking halfway through the movie that this was the guy from Alien. It gets slagged off as a movie but I always found that it had a bit of charm about it.

  4. Yes, we're not getting any younger. Many of the people who formed our take on the world in the 70s and 80s are passing. It is sad.