Yaphet Kotto

Actor, Director, Screenwriter
A commanding presence in features and television since the early 1970s, Yaphet Kotto played physically powerful, often intimidating African-American men in such popular films as "Live and Let Die" (1973), "Blue Collar" ... Read more »
Born: 11/14/1937 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (71)

Witless Protection 2008 (Movie)

Alonzo Moseley (Actor)

Civil Wars 1968 - 1980, 1987 - 1988, 1991 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hawaii Five-O 1968 - 1980, 1992 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Homicide: Life on the Street 1968 - 1980, 1987 - 1988, 1991 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Law & Order 1968 - 1980, 1987 - 1988, 1991 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1968 - 1980, 1987 - 1988, 1992 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

SeaQuest DSV 1968 - 1980, 1992 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Stopping the Stalkers 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Narrator

Two If By Sea 1996 (Movie)

O'Malley (Actor)

Out of Sync 1995 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dead Badge 1994 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Puppet Masters 1994 (Movie)

Ressler (Actor)

Almost Blue 1993 (Movie)

Terry (Actor)

Intent to Kill 1992 (Movie)

Captain Jackson (Actor)

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare 1991 (Movie)

Doc (Actor)

Hangfire 1991 (Movie)

Lieutenant (Actor)

Prime Target 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Tripwire 1990 (Movie)

Lee Pitt (Actor)

Ministry of Vengeance 1989 (Movie)

Mr Whiteside (Actor)

A Whisper to a Scream 1988 (Movie)

Detective Taillard (Actor)

Midnight Run 1988 (Movie)

Alonzo Mosely (Actor)

Desperado 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

PrettyKill 1987 (Movie)

Harris (Actor)

Terminal Entry 1987 (Movie)

Colonel Styles (Actor)

The Running Man 1987 (Movie)

Laughlin (Actor)

Eye of the Tiger 1986 (Movie)

J B Deveraux (Actor)

Playing With Fire 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Warning Sign 1985 (Movie)

Major Connolly (Actor)

The Star Chamber 1983 (Movie)

Detective Harry Lowes (Actor)

Fighting Back 1981 (Movie)

Ivanhoe Washington (Actor)

Rage 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Brubaker 1980 (Movie)

Richard "Dickie" Coombes (Actor)

Alien 1979 (Movie)

Parker (Actor)

Blue Collar 1978 (Movie)

Smokey (Actor)

Drum 1976 (Movie)

Blaise (Actor)

Friday Foster 1975 (Movie)

Colt Hawkins (Actor)

Report to the Commissioner 1975 (Movie)

Richard (Crunch) Blackstone (Actor)

The Monkey Hustle 1975 (Movie)

Daddy Foxx (Actor)

Shark's Treasure 1974 (Movie)

Ben (Actor)

Truck Turner 1974 (Movie)

Harvard Blue (Actor)

Live and Let Die 1973 (Movie)

Kananga/Mr Big (Actor)

Bone 1972 (Movie)

(Actor)

Man and Boy 1972 (Movie)

Nate Hodges (Actor)

Across 110th Street 1971 (Movie)

Detective Lieutenant Pope (Actor)

The Limit 1971 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Liberation of L.B. Jones 1970 (Movie)

Sonny Boy Mosby (Actor)

5 Card Stud 1968 (Movie)

Little George (Actor)

The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 (Movie)

Carl (Actor)

Nothing But a Man 1964 (Movie)

Jocko (Actor)

After the Shock (TV Show)

Actor

Badge of the Assassin (TV Show)

Actor

Chrome Soldiers (TV Show)

Actor

Extreme Justice (TV Show)

Actor

For Love and Honor (TV Show)

Actor

Harem (TV Show)

Actor

Homicide: The Movie (TV Show)

Actor

In Self Defense (TV Show)

Actor

It's Nothing Personal (TV Show)

Actor

Night Chase (TV Show)

Actor

Raid on Entebbe (TV Show)

Actor

Stiletto Dance (TV Show)

Actor

The Defenders: Payback (TV Show)

Actor

The Park Is Mine (TV Show)

Actor

The Ride (TV Show)

Actor

The Time Is Now (Movie)

(Actor)

Women of San Quentin (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (1)

The Limit 1971 (Movie)

(From Story)
Director (1)

The Limit 1971 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (1)

The Limit 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

A commanding presence in features and television since the early 1970s, Yaphet Kotto played physically powerful, often intimidating African-American men in such popular films as "Live and Let Die" (1973), "Blue Collar" (1978), "Alien" (1979) and "Midnight Run" (1988). He emerged from the New York stage in the early 1960s, working steadily in small but significant roles in features like "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1967) before moving up to supporting roles and leads in "Across 110th Street" (1971). His star-making turn came as the villainous Dr. Kananga in "Live and Let Die" (1973), which marked Roger Moore's debut as James Bond and preceded a long run as a popular character actor in such major features as "Alien" (1979) and "Brubaker" (1980). Kotto was stranded in minor-league acting features for much of the 1980s, though he rebounded in the early 1990s as the formidable Lt. Al Giardello on the critically acclaimed "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-2000). Throughout his long and varied career, Kotto's performances were marked by an unerring sense of gravity, honesty and intelligence, which served him well in avoiding many of the career pitfalls suffered by African-American actors.

Relationships

Alexander Bell

Great-Grandfather
Ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late 19th century

Rita Dittman

Wife

Rosemary Gayon

Companion
Born c. 1967 engaged briefly in 1994 no longer together

Abraham Kotto

Father
Immigrated from Cameroon to New York in the 1920s changed his name from Njoki Manga Bell when he arrived in New York from Cameroon converted to Judaism while in Cameroon divorced Kotto's mother c. 1940

Gladys Kotto

Mother
Divorced Kotto's father c. 1940

Mirabai Kotto

Daughter
Born c. 1978 mother Toni Pettyjohn

Natascha Kotto

Daughter
Born c. 1966 mother Rita Dittman

Salina Kotto

Daughter
Born c, 1980 mother Toni Pettyjohn

Sarada Kotto

Daughter
Born c. 1976 mother Toni Pettyjohn

Frederick Kotto

Son
Born c. 1968 mother Rita Dittman

Robert Kotto

Son
Born c. 1971 mother Rita Dittman

Antoinette Pettyjohn

Wife
Born c. 1947 Married Jan. 29, 1975, reportedly within a week of Kotto's divorce from Rita Dittman Separated c. 1988 and later divorced

Tessie Sinahon

Wife
Filipino; born c. 1969 Together from 1992 Married in a civil ceremony 1997; remarried July 12, 1998 in a religious ceremony

Queen Victoria

Great-Great-Great-Grandmother
According to 15 years of research revealed in Kotto's autobiography Royalty

Milestones

2008

Cast in the comedy "Witless Protection" starring Larry The Cable Guy

1997

Published Royalty, an autobiography linking him to the British royal family

1996

Had another turn as an FBI agent in "Two if by Sea" starring Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary

1993

Played Lieutenant Al Giardello in the popular NBC series "Homicide: Life on the Street"; also scripted an episode

1990

Starred in the Washington, DC and London stage productions of the acclaimed August Wilson play, "Fences"

1988

Cast as an inept FBI lead man in "Midnight Run" co-starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin

1983

First regular series role in the short-lived NBC drama "Love and Honor"

1979

Portrayed a doomed crewmember in "Alien"

1977

Portrayed Idi Amin in the acclaimed NBC TV-movie, "Raid on Entebbe"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor

1973

Played the drug-dealing nemesis of Roger Moore's 007 in "Live and Let Die"

1972

Feature directing debut, "The Limit" (also produced and starred in this movie written from his story)

1968

Received raves for his role in William Wyler's "The Liberation of L.B. Jones"

1964

Film debut, Richard Roemer's "Nothing But a Man"

1956

Made professional debut in title role of "Othello"

1953

Began studying the performing arts at the Actor's Mobile Theater Studio

Bonus Trivia

.

About his alleged relationship to the Windsors: "Prince Albert Edward did have an affair with one of my relatives. My great-grandfather, Alexander Bell, looks like a white man. He's the real, documented proof that some hanky-panky was going on. It was something that should have never happened. I wish if we had someone from the British royal family in ours, it was someone of dignity and class, and not a drunkard and a whore-monger as the Prince was." - Yaphet Kotto to the New York Post, March 9, 1997

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