Actor Yaphet Kotto the very first major Black James Bond villain in Live and Let Die has died at the age of 81.
The actor is also known for indelible roles in Homicide: Life on the Street, Alien and Midnight Run,
His agent, Ryan Goldhar, confirmed the death but said he did not know the cause. Mr. Kotto had lived in the Philippines for some years.
Mr. Kotto worked mostly in the theater for the first decade or so of his career. His bodily size made him a dominating figure in any sort of role, though it tended to bring him parts as a heavy.
“I’m always called powerful, bulky or imposing,” he told The Baltimore Sun in 1993, when “Homicide: Life on the Street” made its debut. “Or they say I fill up a room. I’m a 200-pound, 6-foot 3-inch Black guy. And I think I have this image of a monster. It’s very difficult.”
He was born on November 15, 1939, in New York, Kotto got his start in the 1960s guesting on such popular TV series as Tarzan, The Big Valley, The High Chaparral, Mannix, Gunsmoke and Hawaii Five-O. He also had small roles in features The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and 5 Card Stud with Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum.