Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto is one of the few African American talents that had steady work in film and television before, during and after the Blaxploitation era of filmmaking. Considering all of the gifted actors whose careers ended after that productive and innovative era, it's sad that only a handful landed on their feet.

Fortunately, Mr. Kotto was one of them and the entertainment world is richer, more complex and fullfilling because of it. He's had success playing characters that operate both sides of the law and whether he's a troubled good guy or a vicious bad one, it's safe to say that his character will stay with you long after the movie or television show has ended.

His early work in lower budget films is stellar, with memorable supporting roles in Across 110th Street, Truck Turner and Monkey Hustle. However, it wasn't until he played Mr. Big in the James Bond thriller, Live and Let Die, that he gained attention of the Hollywood A-list, which lead to key roles in movies like Blue Collar, Alien, Brubaker, Midnight Run and The Running Man.

After his succes as Lieutenant Giardello on the NBC police drama, Homicide: Life on the Street, this talented actor seems to have disappeared from steady Hollywood work. Hopefully it's only temporary so newer audiences of today can see for themselves that the actors that are less famous are in many cases the best ones working. And Yaphet Kotto certainly fits that bill.

1 comment:

  1. He can hold the screen with DeNiro, Moore, and Schwarzenegger. A commanding presence.