By Spy Uganda
Yaphet Kotto, known for roles as Parker in 1979’s “Alien” and Lieutenant Al Giardello in “Homicide: Life on the Street,” has died at 81.
Kotto’s agent Ryan Goldhar confirmed the news and his wife Tessie Sinahon announced his death in a Facebook post.
“I’m saddened and still in shock of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30 p.m. Philippine time,” she wrote. “Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you every day, my best friend, my rock. I love you and you will always be in my heart. Till we meet again!”
The Hollywood community including “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and “Baby Driver” director Edgar Wright honored Kotto on Twitter.
“Yaphet Kotto. My Mom’s favorite. He’s one of those actors who deserved more than the parts he got,” DuVernay wrote. “But he took those parts and made them wonderful all the same. A star. Rest well, sir.”
“Homicide: Life on the Street” ran for seven seasons on NBC where Kotto playing moral Baltimore Police Lieutenant Al Girardello. During the seventh season, he was killed off in a dramatic scene. In an interview some time back, Kotto said the killing of his character was more than just a storyline plot, but a loss of a positive role in the Black community.
“Giardello is one of the few characters on television that presented a positive Black man in a positive role with strengths and weaknesses and all the rest,” Kotto said. “When they created Giardello created a bigger-than-life character. Consequently, people who grew up on John Wayne and the kind of bigger-than-life characters like Clark Gable that Hollywood used to give us, saw Giardello as a father figure or maybe an uncle. I know this because of the way people reacted to me and the character publicly and privately.”
Kotto married Sinahon in 1998 in Baltimore. Sinahon, who won the actor’s heart during a chance meeting in an airport, moved to the United States in May 1997 after a five-year courtship conducted mostly over the phone.