Yaphet Frederick Kotto, born on 15th November 1939 in New York City, USA, is an actor, best known to the world for his roles in films “Alien” (1979) as Parker, “Live and Let Die” (1973) as Bond`s enemy Kananga / Mr. Big, and as William Laughlin in the film “The Running Man” (1987), among other roles.
Have you ever wondered how rich Yaphet Kotto is, as of late 2016? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Kotto`s net worth is as high as $5 million, earned through his successful career in the entertainment industry, during which he has appeared in more than 90 film and TV titles.
Yaphet Kotto Net Worth $5 Million
Yaphet is the son of Gladys Marie, who worked as a nurse and was also a U.S. Army officer, while his father was a Cameroon immigrant, Njoki Manga Bell, but who changed his name to Avraham Kotto. Yaphet researched his family roots, and found out that his father was crowned prince of Cameroon, but since it was a Republic that was unacceptable, so he had to flee. His whole family from his father`s side had royal roots and was quite rich.
Yapeth grew up in New York City, and enrolled at Actors Mobile Theater Studio when he was 16, and three years later made his acting debut in a production of “Othello”. He continued as a part of the Actors Studio in New York, and appeared on Broadway in “The Great White Hope” and several other productions. Kotto`s first screen role went uncredited, in the film “4 for Texas” (1963), but he then started building his name with roles in “Nothing But a Man” (1964) with Ivan Dixon and Julius Harris, “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and “5 Card Stud” (1969) starring Dean Martin. All of these films were quite successful, and certainly increased Yaphet`s net worth.
The `70s were quite fruitful for Yaphet, as he recorded several notable roles, which certainly marked his career; in 1972 he joined te cast of the film “Across 110th Street” with Anthony Quinn and Anthony Franciossa, and in 1973 he starred in Guy Hamilton`s “Live and Let Die” with Roger Moore as secret CIA agent James Bond. Three years later, he featured in Irvin Kershner`s Golden Globe-awarded action drama “Raid on Entebbe”, with Peter Finch and Charles Bronson. He finished the decade with two most recognizable roles, as Smokey in “Blue Collar” (1978), and as Parker in “Alien” (1979), increasing his net worth by a large margin.
The `90s didn`t change much, only a number of films and the amount of money on Yaphet`s bank account; he started the decade with a role in Gary Sherman`s Primetime Emmy nominated “After the Shock” (1990), and continued with an appearance in the film “The Corpse Had a Familiar Face” in 1994. A year before he was selected for the role of Al Giardello in the TV series “Homicide: Life on the Street”, which lasted until 1999, increasing further his net worth. He repeated his role in the TV movie “Homicide: The Movie” in 2000, and has made several appearances since the beginning of the new millennium, including in “Stiletto Dance” (2001), “Witless Protection” (2008), while in 2014 he lent his voice to Parker in the video game “Alien: Isolation.
Regarding his personal life, Yaphet has been married to Tessie Sinahon since 1998, who is his third wife. His first marriage was to Rita Ingrid Dittman, from 1962 until 1975, and they have three children. His second wife was Antoinette Pettyjohn, from 1975 until 1996; the couple have two children together.
He made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: Gunsmoke (1955) and Law & Order (1990).
Spends the majority of his free time living in the Philippines.
Within a week of the divorce from his first wife Rita, he married Antoinette Pettyjohn.
Although he didn't enjoy filming Midnight Run, the character of Agent Alonzo Mosley remains his favorite. He later played the same role for the film Witless Protection.
His parents divorced when he was 3.
Yaphet means beautiful in Hebrew.
His father, Njoki Manga Bell, was the great-grandson of King Alexander Bell, who ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late 19th century, before the nation fell into the hands of Germany and, later, France and Britain. Fleeing the Germans, Manga Bell emigrated to Harlem in the 1920s and changed his name to Abraham Kotto (the surname is from a relative).
Along with his wife, Tessie, they operate an artists retreat resort in Southern Leyte, Philippines called "The Running Man Institute," which was founded in 2001 and is focused on working with people in the entertainment industry to build their creativity, as well as to relax and read up about holistic health.
Turned down the role of Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' (1980). He feared that Lando would be killed in the movie, and that he would be forever typecast.
Campaigned for Steve Forbes during his bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in the 2000 primaries.
His father was a Cameroonian (African) Jew, and his mother, whose family was from Panama, converted to Judaism. In an interview, he said that being fully Black and Jewish gave other children even more reason to pick on him growing up in New York City. However, he remains a devout, practicing Jew.
Moved from Littleton, Colorado to Canada, because he felt it would be safer to live there. Two years after moving, he saw the news coverage on Columbine, and recognized some of the kids fleeing the school.
Has a Bay Area hardcore punk band named after him.
He is the son of a Cameroonian crown prince.
Oldest son, Fred, is a very successful San José Police Dept. California (USA) officer.
Often plays police detectives and military officers
[on turning down the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)] I think I made some wrong decisions in my life, man. I should have done that but I walked away. When you're making movies, you'd tend to say no to TV. It's like when you're in college and someone asks you to the high school dance. You say no.
[on Anthony Quinn and Across 110th Street (1972)] I can't stop laughing about Mr. Quinn. He wouldn't let me have anything. When I told him about how rough I had it as a kid in Harlem, he told me how he was hanged by the neck in Russia and left for dead. I told him I'd love to win an Academy award. "Don't bother, I'll lend you mine". "You don't know how rough it is coming up black in America". "Listen Yaphet, until you have been a Mexican, you don't know what rough means!" When we were shooting 110th in Harlem... I said to him: "Finally, I'm with my people". "Your people? My great-grandmother was a slave in Alabama!"
If you're a black actor, you really don't have too many choices. If you keep turning things down, you might as well hit the unemployment office. If I didn't sometimes take small parts in small films I wouldn't get to play anything, and I do have to eat.
(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.
(On Live and Let Die) There were so many problems with that script. I was too afraid of coming off like Mantan Moreland. I had to dig deep in my soul and brain and come up with a level of reality that would offset the sea of stereotype crap that Tom Mankiewicz wrote that had nothing to do with the Black experience or culture. The way Kananga dies was a joke, and well, the entire experience was not as rewarding as I wanted it to be. There were a lot of pitfalls that I had to avoid, and I did.
(On filming Alien) All of the scenes were challenging, particularly when you know you have to act against sets that were huge. The special effects determined where you could walk. Then you ask yourself how can you survive in acting against a monster. Will you be remembered? Ridley Scott was cool. He gave us a ninety-page outline detailing each of our characters and then he disappeared behind the camera. That's how he directs; he operates his own camera. The Alien script was tight. It was one of the best scripts I have ever read, so there was very little improve.
(On filming Midnight Run) That was another difficult shoot. DeNiro is very spontaneous and it always helps to work with an artist like that. But Marty Brest! He shot so many takes of the scenes that I lost all joy in doing the film. It became hard and tedious work. Then he stopped eating during the shoot and became thinner and thinner each day, until he looked like a ghost behind the camera. When I met Marty at the Universal Studios with DeNiro, he looked healthy and strong, but as filming went on, he began to turn into someone you'd see in Dachau (Concentration Camp). It was weird. I got sick and for the whole of the film I had a fever and was under the weather for most of it. I was shocked when it came off so funny. It sure wasn't funny making it.
(On Homicide: Life on the Street) I felt like I was a beggar doing Homicide. Begging to act. Begging for scenes. The writing was not obviously for me. It mainly focused on others. I went from a movie star playing leads to a bit player doing one line here and one line there. The rest of the week I would be hanging around Fells Point waiting to come in and do my one line. When I asked if they could write more for me to do, they'd say "You're doing great. You're the anchor of the show. "Anchor? I'm an actor, let me out!" I finally ended up writing for the show and gave myself something to do. Nine years of not acting.
I do have a favorite kind of director, which is the kind who allows me to create. Some haven't allowed me to create and I think by doing that they don't need an actor. They need a puppet.