Brown - Dark
New York City, New York, USA
Claim to Fame
Live and Let Die
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Actor (95 credits)
Writer (2 credits)
Director (1 credit)
Producer (1 credit)
Soundtrack (1 credit)
Thanks (2 credits)
Self (14 credits)
Archive footage (15 credits)
Prince Yaphet Frederick Kotto (born November 15, 1937) is an American actor, known for numerous film roles, and his starring role in the NBC television series: Homicide: Life on the Street. Kotto was born in New York City, the son of Gladys Marie, a nurse and army officer, and Avraham Kotto (originally named Njoki Manga Bell), a businessman and the Crown Prince of Cameroon. Kotto`s father, who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s, was an observant Jew who spoke Hebrew, and Kotto`s mother converted to Judaism before marrying his father. Kotto`s great-grandfather King Alexander Bell ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late 19th century and was also a practicing Jew. Kotto has said that his paternal family originated from Israel and migrated to Egypt and then Cameroon, and have been African Jews for many generations. Being Black and Jewish gave other children even more reason, he has said, to pick on him growing up in New York City. "It was rough coming up," Kotto said. "And then going to shul, putting a yarmulke on, having to face people who were primarily Baptists in the Bronx meant that on Fridays, I was in some heavy fistfights".
His film debut was in 1963 in an uncredited role in 4 For Texas, but his first big break came in Nothing But a Man in 1964. He played a supporting role in the 1968 caper film The Thomas Crown Affair. He played John Auston, a confused Marine Lance Corporal, in the 1968 episode "King Of The Hill" on the first season of Hawaii Five-O. In 1973 he landed the role of the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, as well as roles in Across 110th Street and Truck Turner. Kotto portrayed Idi Amin Dada in the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe. He also starred as an auto worker alongside Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel in the 1978 film Blue Collar. The following year he played one of his best-known roles, as Parker in the sci-fi–horror film Alien. He followed with a prominent supporting role in the 1980 prison drama Brubaker. In 1983, he guest-starred as "Charlie" in the A-team episode "The Out-of-Towners". In 1987, he appeared in the hit futuristic sci-fi movie The Running Man and in the 1988 action-comedy Midnight Run, in which he portrayed Alonzo Mosely, an FBI agent competing with bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro) to capture Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin). He reprised this role in the 2008 film, Witless Protection. He played Lieutenant Al Giardello in the television series Homicide: Life on the Street.
Kotto is an observant Jew. He has been married three times, and has six children. Kotto married Tessie Sinahon in July 1998, they currently live in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Yaphet Frederick Kotto
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Yaphet Frederick Kotto (born November 15, 1939) is an American actor, known for numerous film roles, as well as starring in the NBC television series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–99) as Lieutenant Al Giardello. His films include the science-fiction/horror film Alien (1979), and the Arnold Schwarzenegger science-fiction/action film The Running Man (1987). He portrayed the main villain Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die (1973). He appeared opposite Robert De Niro in the comedy thriller Midnight Run (1988) as FBI agent Alonzo Mosely.
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1963–2008, 1963–2008, 2014
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Wiki Bio Text
==Yaphet Frederick Kotto== (born November 15, 1939) is an American actor, known for numerous film roles, as well as starring in the NBC television series [[Homicide: Life on the Street]] (1993–99) as [[Lieutenant Al Giardello]]. His films include the science-fiction/horror film [[Alien]] (1979), and the [[Arnold Schwarzenegger]] science-fiction/action film [[The Running Man]] (1987). He portrayed the main villain [[Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big]] in the [[James Bond]] movie [[Live and Let Die]] (1973). He appeared opposite [[Robert De Niro]] in the comedy thriller [[Midnight Run]] (1988) as FBI agent [[Alonzo Mosely]].
==Yaphet Kotto== Actor - ===Born=== November 15, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA
===Birth Name=== Yaphet Frederick Kotto
===Height=== 6' 4" (1.93 m)
===Mini Bio (1)=== Yaphet Kotto was born on November 15, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Yaphet Frederick Kotto. He is an actor and writer, known for [[Alien]] (1979), [[Homicide: Life on the Street]] (1993) and [[Live and Let Die]] (1973). He has been married to Tessie Sinahon since July 12, 1998. He was previously married to Antoinette Pettyjohn and Rita Ingrid Dittman.
===Tessie Sinahon=== (12 July 1998 - present)
===Antoinette Pettyjohn=== (29 January 1975 - ?) (divorced) (2 children)
===Rita Ingrid Dittman=== (1962 - 1975) (divorced) (3 children)
===Trade Mark (1)===
===Often plays=== police detectives and military officers
===Oldest son,=== Fred, is a very successful San José Police Dept. California (USA) officer.
===He is the son of=== a Cameroonian crown prince.
===Has a Bay Area=== hardcore punk band named after him.
===Moved from=== Littleton, Colorado to Canada, because he felt it would be safer to live there. Two years after moving, he saw the news coverage on Columbine, and recognized some of the kids fleeing the school.
===His father was=== a Cameroonian (African) Jew, and his mother, whose family was from Panama, converted to Judaism. In an interview, he said that being fully Black and Jewish gave other children even more reason to pick on him growing up in New York City. However, he remains a devout, practicing Jew.
===Campaigned for=== Steve Forbes during his bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in the 2000 primaries.
Turned down the role of Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' (1980). He feared that Lando would be killed in the movie, and that he would be forever typecast.
===Along with his wife,=== Tessie, they operate an artists retreat resort in Southern Leyte, Philippines called "The Running Man Institute," which was founded in 2001 and is focused on working with people in the entertainment industry to build their creativity, as well as to relax and read up about holistic health.
===His father,=== Njoki Manga Bell, was the great-grandson of King Alexander Bell, who ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late 19th century, before the nation fell into the hands of Germany and, later, France and Britain. Fleeing the Germans, Manga Bell emigrated to Harlem in the 1920s and changed his name to Abraham Kotto (the surname is from a relative).
===Yaphet means beautiful in Hebrew.===
===His parents=== divorced when he was 3.
===Although he didn't=== enjoy filming Midnight Run, the character of Agent Alonzo Mosley remains his favorite. He later played the same role for the film Witless Protection.
===Within a week=== of the divorce from his first wife Rita, he married Antoinette Pettyjohn.
===Spends the majority=== of his free time living in the Philippines.
He made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: Gunsmoke (1955) and Law & Order (1990).
===Resides in=== Baltimore, Maryland [August 2012]
Along with Richard Belzer, Kyle Secor, Clark Johnson and Sharon Ziman, he is one of only five actors to appear in both the first and last episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street (1993): Homicide: Life on the Street: Gone for Goode (1993) and Homicide: Life on the Street: Forgive Us Our Trespasses (1999).
===He was the first black actor=== to play a Bond villain.
With the death of Joseph Wiseman on October 19, 2009, he is the earliest surviving actor to have played a main Bond villain. He played Dr. Kananga (Mr. Big) in Live and Let Die (1973).
At age 33, he is the youngest actor to play a main Bond villain.
===Personal Quotes (9)===
===I do have=== a favorite kind of director, which is the kind who allows me to create. Some haven't allowed me to create and I think by doing that they don't need an actor. They need a puppet.
===(On Homicide: Life on the Street)=== I felt like I was a beggar doing Homicide. Begging to act. Begging for scenes. The writing was not obviously for me. It mainly focused on others. I went from a movie star playing leads to a bit player doing one line here and one line there. The rest of the week I would be hanging around Fells Point waiting to come in and do my one line. When I asked if they could write more for me to do, they'd say "You're doing great. You're the anchor of the show. "Anchor? I'm an actor, let me out!" I finally ended up writing for the show and gave myself something to do. Nine years of not acting.
===(On filming Midnight Run)=== That was another difficult shoot. DeNiro is very spontaneous and it always helps to work with an artist like that. But Marty Brest! He shot so many takes of the scenes that I lost all joy in doing the film. It became hard and tedious work. Then he stopped eating during the shoot and became thinner and thinner each day, until he looked like a ghost behind the camera. When I met Marty at the Universal Studios with DeNiro, he looked healthy and strong, but as filming went on, he began to turn into someone you'd see in Dachau (Concentration Camp). It was weird. I got sick and for the whole of the film I had a fever and was under the weather for most of it. I was shocked when it came off so funny. It sure wasn't funny making it.
===(On filming Alien)=== All of the scenes were challenging, particularly when you know you have to act against sets that were huge. The special effects determined where you could walk. Then you ask yourself how can you survive in acting against a monster. Will you be remembered? Ridley Scott was cool. He gave us a ninety-page outline detailing each of our characters and then he disappeared behind the camera. That's how he directs; he operates his own camera. The Alien script was tight. It was one of the best scripts I have ever read, so there was very little improve.
===(On Live and Let Die)=== There were so many problems with that script. I was too afraid of coming off like Mantan Moreland. I had to dig deep in my soul and brain and come up with a level of reality that would offset the sea of stereotype crap that Tom Mankiewicz wrote that had nothing to do with the Black experience or culture. The way Kananga dies was a joke, and well, the entire experience was not as rewarding as I wanted it to be. There were a lot of pitfalls that I had to avoid, and I did.
===(On when he decided to become an actor)=== I was roaming around Manhattan looking for work; in fact I had just come from an employment center in New York called 'Warren Street' where you can buy a part-time job for about ten bucks. On this particular day I didn't feel like delivering lunches, or pushing a dolly truck through lower Manhattan, so I went up to 42nd Street around Times Square, which at the time looked like a circus: porn theaters on one side of the street and b-movies on the other. I stopped before one particular theater and there were gangster photos all over the marquee. The movie must have cost about seventy-five cents, so I went in and sat down and saw On The Waterfront. I was so blown away after that day - it was Brando's performance that made me leave the streets to become an actor.
===If you're a black actor,=== you really don't have too many choices. If you keep turning things down, you might as well hit the unemployment office. If I didn't sometimes take small parts in small films I wouldn't get to play anything, and I do have to eat.
[on Anthony Quinn and Across 110th Street (1972)] I can't stop laughing about Mr. Quinn. He wouldn't let me have anything. When I told him about how rough I had it as a kid in Harlem, he told me how he was hanged by the neck in Russia and left for dead. I told him I'd love to win an Academy award. "Don't bother, I'll lend you mine". "You don't know how rough it is coming up black in America". "Listen Yaphet, until you have been a Mexican, you don't know what rough means!" When we were shooting 110th in Harlem... I said to him: "Finally, I'm with my people". "Your people? My great-grandmother was a slave in Alabama!"
===[on turning down the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)]=== I think I made some wrong decisions in my life, man. I should have done that but I walked away. When you're making movies, you'd tend to say no to TV. It's like when you're in college and someone asks you to the high school dance. You say no.
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