(On when he decided to become an actor) "I was roaming around Manhattan looking for work; in fact I had just come from an employment center in New York called 'Warren Street' where you can buy a part-time job for about ten bucks. On this particular day I didn't feel like delivering lunches, or pushing a dolly truck through lower Manhattan, so I went up to 42nd Street around Times Square, which at the time looked like a circus: porn theaters on one side of the street and b-movies on the other. I stopped before one particular theater and there were gangster photos all over the marquee. The movie must have cost about seventy-five cents, so I went in and sat down and saw On the Waterfront. I was so blown away after that day - it was Brando's performance that made me leave the streets to become an actor."Yaphet Kotto (born November 15, 1939note ) is a prolific Film, TV and Theater actor who is well known for having broken down a number of Hollywood stereotypes about black characters. He is recognized by most audiences as a character actor who regularly commands the scenes he's in for his powerful performances.He is known to regularly turn down roles which are badly written stereotypically "black" parts, although he would on occasion have to do a film just to put food on the table. His breakout film was Nothing But A Man, which is now regarded as a classic.He is well known for having played the Big Bad in the bond film Live and Let Die note , Parker in Alien and Lieutenant Giardello in Genre-Busting Homicide: Life on the Street. note He also turned down the role of Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Lando in Star Warsnote , which he now regards as a mistake.He arguably kickstarted Blaxploitation cinema with his role as a killer in The Liberation of L. B. Jones, where he is shown onscreen killing a white character (which had not been seen previously in American cinema).Yaphet's family is of Cameroon descent, and infact he comes from a direct male-lineage of the Cameroon royalty (As described in his autobiography Royalty). Further, he claims in his book that he is also of direct descent of Queen Victoria. He is a practicing Jew, and has spoken about experiencing both racism and anti-Semitism while growing up in The Bronx.His latest work was providing the voice for Parker in Alien: Isolation (which, according to him, he did for the money). Currently semi-retired, he is notably a member of the Academy.note
- Nothing But a Man (1964) as Jocko
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) as Carl
- The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) as Sonny Boy Mosby
- Bone (1972) as Bone
- Across 110th Street (1972) as Lt. Pope.
- The Limit (1972) which he wrote, starred and directed - because he wasn't getting the kind of roles he wanted to play.
- Live and Let Die (1973) as Kananga/Mr. Big
- Truck Turner (1974) as Harvard Blue. note
- Blue Collar (1978) as Smokey note
- Alien (1979) as Parker note
- The Running Man (1987) as William Laughlin
- Midnight Run (1988) as Alonzo Mosely note
- Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999) as Lieutenant Al Giardello note
- Homicide: The Movie (2000) as Lieutenant Al Giardello