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Yaphet Kotto, Star of Alien, Dies Aged 81

It is with great sadness that we report another loss of one of the actors who starred in the original classic, Alien. Yaphet Kotto, who played ‘Parker’ in Ridley Scott’s 1979 film has died at age 81. His passing was announced by Tessie Sinahon, his wife of 24 years, in a Facebook post.

“You played a villain on some of your movies but for me you’re a real hero and to a lot of people also. A good man, a good father, a good husband and a decent human being, very rare to find. One of the best actor in Hollywood a Legend. Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you everyday, my bestfriend, my rock. I love you and you will always be in my heart. Till we meet again!”
 Yaphet Kotto, Star of Alien, Dies Aged 81

Yaphet Kotto as ‘Parker’ aboard the Nostromo

After getting his start in stage acting on Broadway, Kotto had a prominent role as the main villian in the 1973 James Bond 007 film, ‘Live and Let Die,’ and would go on to star in Alien come 1979. 

He expressed how important his role in Alien was to him, and how significant the film was for representation of African Americans and Women. 

“It’s very moving for me, this movie means so much to me, I cannot tell you, and to the world, it’s a classic… I was now known all throughout the world. The movie opened the door up for women, never before in the history of movies had we seen a heroic woman do what Sigourney did. It was the first time an African American had been seen in a role like that… And so today we see women and African Americans in those heroic roles because of this man right here. Thank you, Ridley. God bless you.” 
-TIFF Dialogues, 2003

Through the years Kotto had quite a number of film and television roles, including starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 film ‘The Running Man.’

He’ll be remembered fondly by fans for the charming friendship of his character with fellow engineer, Brett, as well as his heroic attempt to save Lambert from the Alien.

Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton, who played Brett, were friends outside of Alien’s production as well.

“Harry and I are friends, man. OK? And our friendship goes beyond the normal… Look, just imagine two guys from Woodstock deciding to go make a movie, and now you know who Harry and I are. We come from a different scene of life. If you know what Woodstock was doing, where they were at, then you know Harry and I are together even though we’re not together. Ridley knew what we were going to do and where we were coming from.”
SyFy Wire, 2015

Kotto reprised his role as Parker in the 2014 video game Alien: Isolation, lending his likeness and voice acting to the game. It would be his final acting role.

 Yaphet Kotto, Star of Alien, Dies Aged 81

Yaphet Kotto as ‘Parker’ in Alien: Isolation (2014), Model by Jack Perry

Charles de Lauzirika, who produced the Alien Quadrilogy and Anthology home releases, shared on Twitter regarding Kotto’s passing:

His cause of death was not immediately disclosed. 

Yaphet is survived by his third wife, Tessie Sinahon, and his six children from previous marriages. The thoughts of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy staff and community go out to Kotto’s family and friends. Rest in Peace, Yaphet.



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  1. TNF
    I had the pleasure of interviewing Yaphet for hours on the phone last year. He had bitten his tongue but was in great spirits. Very feisty, opinionated, and he really went into detail on how he crafted Parker (with a literary reference or two!) I was hoping to talk to him again and follow-up, but alas....

    RIP, Yaphet.
    The tongue thing caught me eye. He always spoke like his tongue was too big for his mouth. Looking forward to seeing the gleanings from that interview...
  2. Mr. Clemens
    Maybe off topic but in one scene where parker and brett is repairing the ship and have ripley there and Parker have the steam running as they talk and it ends with ripley going to the bridge and then Parker turns off the steam and becomes silent, being disapointed/upset and brett asking whats wrong? Then Parker turns on the steam again. What was that about? Seen some say it was him hitting on ripley and she turned it down but I dont see that but then again what was that scene about? :P

    He's not convinced the company isn't gonna find a way to screw him and Brett out of their shares.

    Man, the cast of Alien have basically been my family since 1979. This hurts. :'(
  3. judge death
    Sigourney Weaver Pays Tribute to ‘Alien’ Co-Star Yaphet Kotto

    Quote
    “Every day Yaphet Kotto blew me away on the set of ‘Alien,’” Weaver wrote. “He just went for it in every scene, making the stakes higher and higher and giving each scene a terrifying reality. It was a nonstop master class for me and I will always be grateful to him. Rest In Peace Parker…Over and out, Ripley.”

    https://variety.com/2021/film/news/yaphet-kotto-sigourney-weaver-alien-1234932837/
    Didnt ridley made him to be an ass to Sigourney at times to make the acting more real or something like that?
    Also loved how he argued with ridley to change his parts and trying to make his charachter to survive or die differently and coming with ideas all the time :P

    Maybe off topic but in one scene where parker and brett is repairing the ship and have ripley there and Parker have the steam running as they talk and it ends with ripley going to the bridge and then Parker turns off the steam and becomes silent, being disapointed/upset and brett asking whats wrong? Then Parker turns on the steam again. What was that about? Seen some say it was him hitting on ripley and she turned it down but I dont see that but then again what was that scene about? :P
  4. Nightmare Asylum
    Sigourney Weaver Pays Tribute to ‘Alien’ Co-Star Yaphet Kotto

    Quote
    “Every day Yaphet Kotto blew me away on the set of ‘Alien,’” Weaver wrote. “He just went for it in every scene, making the stakes higher and higher and giving each scene a terrifying reality. It was a nonstop master class for me and I will always be grateful to him. Rest In Peace Parker…Over and out, Ripley.”

    https://variety.com/2021/film/news/yaphet-kotto-sigourney-weaver-alien-1234932837/
  5. Capt.Dallas at Thedus
    Give Godspeed Yaphet Kotto:)Show some love and watch him in the great Paul Schrader film Blue Collar,with Harvey Keitel&Richard Pryor!After David Giler,I'm feeling more than a little sad,folks.....
  6. Valaquen
    I had the pleasure of interviewing Yaphet for hours on the phone last year. He had bitten his tongue but was in great spirits. Very feisty, opinionated, and he really went into detail on how he crafted Parker (with a literary reference or two!) I was hoping to talk to him again and follow-up, but alas....

    RIP, Yaphet.
  7. judge death
    Damn it, one of the best charachters in alien passes away :(
    I knew him also from running man movie where he was as superb in his acting together with arnold.

    Sad day and gonna be missed, RIP Kotto/Parker, hope you get to be with Brett and work out that bonus situation and get full bonus like everyone else and go home and party up there in heaven. :P

    Hmm so:
    Kane died first
    Brett
    then Ash
    Now Parker
    so that means if we follow directors cut: run Lambert, I fear she is next :O :(
    The best character in ALIEN passed away in late 1992.
    Bolaji left us way too early, would had loved to see him in the suit again, he made a such good acting and work in the suit in how he moved and behaved. Hard to think so many from this franchise is leaving, the actors mentioned, walter hill, dan o bannon, Giger amongst others :/ 
  8. kwisatz
    RIP man...

    Loved him in Homicide too.

    This sadly reminds of the bit in the Alien documentary thats about the time Ridley is constantly trying to evade Yaphet on set who only wants to speak to him to convince him that he's not gonna die in a certain scene lol...  :'(
  9. Elmazalman
    Damn it, one of the best charachters in alien passes away :(
    I knew him also from running man movie where he was as superb in his acting together with arnold.

    Sad day and gonna be missed, RIP Kotto/Parker, hope you get to be with Brett and work out that bonus situation and get full bonus like everyone else and go home and party up there in heaven. :P

    Hmm so:
    Kane died first
    Brett
    then Ash
    Now Parker
    so that means if we follow directors cut: run Lambert, I fear she is next :O :(
    The best character in ALIEN passed away in late 1992.
  10. Crazy Rich
    This news hurts. Was even reading an article about how in the March on Washington he was on the steps when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech "I Have A Dream" and even revisited that spot with his daughter.

    Rest in peace.
  11. StrangeShape
    Whaaat? Oh nooo. I know its inevitable and that times passes byt it always hits like a hammer. Rest in peace. Ive met him once he was really nice. He signed my poster. Great character, great actor
  12. BigDaddyJohn
    A sore loss indeed. 

    Certain movies greatly benefit from having actors who are very 'rewatchable' in them, and ALIEN definitely falls into that catagory with the likes of Yaphet Kotto amongst it's terrific cast.

    I've never seen it, but I recently ordered a copy of the 1972 'Harlem gangsters' movie ACROSS 110th STREET, purely because I found out he was in it.  While Yaphet's defining performance will always be 'Parker' for me, I will now give it a viewing tonight in his memory.  Here's it's theme as a tribute to him, which some of you may recall from Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN -

    Cool movie, and a f**king great soundtrack ! Yaphet Kotto is really good in this one.
  13. judge death
    Damn it, one of the best charachters in alien passes away :(
    I knew him also from running man movie where he was as superb in his acting together with arnold.

    Sad day and gonna be missed, RIP Kotto/Parker, hope you get to be with Brett and work out that bonus situation and get full bonus like everyone else and go home and party up there in heaven. :P

    Hmm so:
    Kane died first
    Brett
    then Ash
    Now Parker
    so that means if we follow directors cut: run Lambert, I fear she is next :O :(
  14. BringbackJonesy!
    A sore loss indeed. 

    Certain movies greatly benefit from having actors who are very 'rewatchable' in them, and ALIEN definitely falls into that catagory with the likes of Yaphet Kotto amongst it's terrific cast.

    I've never seen it, but I recently ordered a copy of the 1972 'Harlem gangsters' movie ACROSS 110th STREET, purely because I found out he was in it.  While Yaphet's defining performance will always be 'Parker' for me, I will now give it a viewing tonight in his memory.  Here's it's theme as a tribute to him, which some of you may recall from Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN -    
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