Life on the Road’ actor, dies at 81


Yaphet Kotto, known as Parker in “Alien” of 1979 and as Lieutenant Al Giardello in “Homicide: Life on the Street”, has died. He was 81 years old.

Kotto’s agent Ryan Goldhar confirmed the news on Tuesday. His wife, Tessie Sinahon, announced his death in a Facebook post on Monday.

“I am sad and still shocked about the death of my 24-year-old husband Yaphet. He died last night around 10:30 pm Philippine time,” she wrote. “Rest in peace, honey, I will miss you every day, my best friend, my rock. I love you and you will always be in my heart. Until we meet again!”

The native New Yorker has appeared in both film and television and received an Emmy nomination for portraying President Idi Amin Dada in the NBC film “Raid on Entebbe.” He also played the villain Dr. Kananga, also known as Mr. Big, in James Bond’s film “Live and Let Die”.

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The Hollywood community, including “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and “Baby Driver” director Edgar Wright, honored Kotto on Twitter.

“Yaphet Kotto. My mother’s favorite. He’s one of those actors who deserved more than the roles he got,” wrote DuVernay. “But he took those parts and still made them wonderful. One star. Take a good rest, sir.”

“RIP Yaphet Kotto, a brilliant magnetic presence that brings gravitas and naturalism into space or into Bond’s underground cave,” Wright wrote.

Yaphet Kotto (top right) portrayed Lt.  Al Giardello in

“Homicide: Life on the Street” aired for seven seasons on NBC, where Kotto played the moral police lieutenant Al Girardello from Baltimore. During the seventh season, he was killed in one dramatic scene. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Kotto said killing his character was more than just an act, it was the loss of a positive role in the black community.

“Giardello is one of the few characters on television who featured a positive black man in a positive role with strengths and weaknesses and everything else,” said Kotto. “When they created Giardello, they were creating a larger than life character. So people who grew up with John Wayne and the larger than life characters like Clark Gable that Hollywood gave us saw Giardello as a father figure or maybe an uncle. I know that because they People reacted to me and the character in public and in private. ”

Kotto married Sinahon in 1998 in Baltimore. Sinahon, who captured the actor’s heart at a chance meeting at an airport, moved to the United States in May 1997 after five years of advertising, mostly over the phone.

Contributor: Associated Press