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New York, New York, USA
Claim to Fame
Live and Let Die
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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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Full Name at Birth
Yaphet Frederick Kotto
Actor/Actress, Writer, Director
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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 Moseley.
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