Yaphet Kotto Biography (1944-)

Full name, Yaphet Frederick Kotto; born November 15, 1944 (some sources say 1937 and 1939), in New York, NY; son of Njoki Manga Bell (some sources say Yaphet Mangobell or Abraham) and Gladys Maria (a nurse and army officer) Kotto;married Rita Dittman, c. 1964 (divorced, 1975); married Antoinette Pettyjohn,January 29, 1975 (divorced); married Rosemary Gayon, c. 1995 (divorced); married Tessie Sinahon (a secretary), 1997; children: (first marriage) Natasha,Frederick, Robert; (second marriage) Sarada, Mirabai, Salina. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Career: Actor, director, producer, and writer. Arena Stage, Washington, DC, guest artist; co-chair of Congressof Racial Equality (CORE), Bronx chapter, in the mid-1960s; previously worked at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Awards, Honors: EmmyAward nomination, best supporting actor in a comedy or drama special, 1977, for Raid on Entebbe; named honorary captain, Frederick Police Department, Frederick, MD, 1997. Addresses: Agent: Artists Group Ltd., 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 2490, Los Angeles, CA 90067-4045.

Kotto's book Royalty contains information that he uncovered whilestudying his family's lineage. He spent more than fifteen years tracing his roots and discovered evidence that he can lay claim to the title of CrownPrince of the Royal Bell family of Doualla, Cameroon in West Africa. He alsoasserts that he is the great, great grandson of Queen Victoria. Rumblin Entertainment, the producers of Homicide: Life on the Street, have bought the film rights to the book.

Actor, director, producer, writer
Birth Details
November 15, 1944
New York, New York, United States

Famous Works

  • Film Appearances
  • Four for Texas, Warner Bros., 1963
  • Jocko, Nothing But a Man, Cinema 5, 1965
  • Little George, Five Card Stud, Paramount, 1968
  • Carl, The Thomas Crown Affair(also known as The Crown Caper), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968
  • Sonny Boy Mosby, The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones(also known asThe Liberation of L. B. Jones), Columbia, 1970
  • Lieutenant Pope, Across 110th Street, United Artists, 1972
  • Bone(also known as Dial Rat for Terror and Housewife), 1972
  • Nate, Man and Boy(also known as Ride a Dark Horse), Levitt-Pickman, 1972
  • Mark Johnson, The Limit(also known as Speed Limit), New EraCommunications, 1972
  • Kananga/Mr. Big, Live and Let Die, United Artists, 1973
  • Harvard Blue, Truck Turner(also known as Black Bullet), American International, 1974
  • Richard Blackston, Report to the Commissioner(also known as Operation Undercover), United Artists, 1975
  • Ben Flynn, Shark's Treasure, United Artists, 1975
  • Colt Hawkins, Friday Foster, American International, 1975
  • Blaise, Drum, United Artists, 1976
  • Big Daddy Foxx, Monkey Hustle, American International, 1977
  • Parker, Alien, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1978
  • Smokey, Blue Collar, Universal, 1978
  • Dickey Coombes, Brubaker, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1980
  • Fighting Back, Paramount, 1982
  • Hey, Good Lookin', Warner Bros., 1982
  • Ivanhoe Washington, Death Vengeance(also known as Death Vegeance), 1982
  • Detective Harry Lowes, Star Chamber, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983
  • Major Connolly, Warning Sign, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985
  • J. B. Deveraux, Eye of the Tiger, Scotti Brothers, 1986
  • Harris, Pretty Kill, Spectra-Film, 1987
  • Laughlin, The Running Man, TriStar, 1987
  • Colonel Styles, Terminal Entry, TBA Film, 1987
  • Alonzo Mosely, Midnight Run, Universal, 1988
  • Doctor Fillmore, The Jigsaw Murders,1988
  • Mr. Whiteside, Ministry of Vengeance(also known as Helden USA 4), Concorde, 1989
  • Detective Taillard, A Whisper to a Scream, Distant Horizons, 1989
  • Lee Pitt, Tripwire,1990
  • Doc, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare(also known as Nightmare on Elm Street VI), New Line Cinema, 1991
  • Lieutenant, Hangfire, Motion Picture Corporation of America, 1991
  • Terry, Almost Blue, LIVE Home Video, 1993
  • Captain Jackson, Intent to Kill, PM Home Video, 1993
  • Ressler, Robert A. Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters"(also knownas The Puppet Masters), Buena Vista, 1994
  • Quincey, Out of Sync, LIVE Entertainment, 1995
  • Captain Hunt, Dead Badge, Cabin Fever Entertainment, 1995
  • O'Malley, Two If by Sea(also known as Stolen Hearts), Warner Bros., 1996
  • Also appeared in Nightmare of the Devil; The Virgin; Tripurie; The Shootist; We're Back.
  • Film Work
  • Producer and director, The Limit, New Era Communications, 1972
  • Also producer and director of Nightmare of the Devil and The Virgin.
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Platoon Sgt. James "China" Bell, For Love and Honor, NBC, 1983
  • Lieutenant Al Giardello, Homicide: Life on the Street, NBC, 1993-99
  • Movies
  • Ernie Green, Night Chase(also known as The Man in the Back Seat), CBS, 1970
  • President Idi Amin Dada, Raid on Entebbe, NBC, 1977
  • Ernie, Rage, NBC, 1980
  • A House Divided: Denmark Vesey's Rebellion, PBS, 1982
  • Sergeant Therman Patterson, Women of San Quentin, NBC, 1983
  • Happy, CBS, 1983
  • Cliff Fenton, Badge of the Assassin, CBS, 1985
  • Frank Eubanks, The Park Is Mine, HBO, 1985
  • Fire Chief Walker, Playing with Fire, NBC, 1985
  • Kislar, Harem, ABC, 1986
  • Bede, Desperado, NBC, 1987
  • Lt. Tyrell, In Self-Defense(also known as Hollow Point), ABC, 1987
  • General Sorenson, Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel, NBC, 1987
  • Gilmore Brown, Prime Target, NBC, 1989
  • William McElroy, After the Shock(also known as To the Heroes: The San Francisco Earthquake, October 17, 1989), USA, 1990
  • Perry Beach, Chrome Soldiers, USA, 1992
  • Extreme Justice(also known as S.I.S. and Special Investigation Section), HBO, 1993
  • Lieutenant Riley, It's Nothing Personal(also known as Nothing Personal), NBC, 1993
  • Isaac, "Arthur Miller's The American Clock" (also known as "The American Clock"), TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1993
  • Martin, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face, CBS, 1994
  • Detective Marty Talbot, Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan(also known as Edna Buchanan: Miami Deadline), CBS, 1995
  • Miniseries
  • Roots, ABC, 1977
  • Episodic
  • "Iron Box," Big Valley, ABC, 1966
  • "Losers Weepers," Experiment in Television, NBC, 1967
  • "A Man Called Abraham," Death Valley Days, syndicated, 1967
  • "Incident at Derati Wells," Cowboy in Africa, NBC, 1967
  • "Thief Catcher," Tarzan, NBC, 1967
  • "The Buffalo Man," Big Valley, ABC, 1967
  • "The Child," Bonanza, NBC, 1968
  • "Big, Black, and Out There," Daniel Boone, NBC, 1968
  • "The Buffalo Soldiers," High Chaparral, NBC, 1968
  • Cpl. John T. Austin, "King of the Hill," Hawaii Five-0, CBS, 1969
  • "Death in a Minor Key," Mannix, CBS, 1969
  • "Jonah," Daniel Boone, NBC, 1969
  • "The Time Is Now," Name of the Game, NBC, 1970
  • "The Scavengers," Gunsmoke, CBS, 1970
  • "The Messiah on Mott Street," Night Gallery, NBC, 1971
  • "Knives of Chance," Doctors Hospital, NBC, 1975
  • "Cotton Club," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1983
  • Charlie, "The Out-of-Towners," The A-Team, NBC, 1983
  • "Blues in the Night," Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1985
  • "You Gotta Have Luck," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1985
  • Convict, "Prisoners," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1985
  • Lt. Bradshaw, "Steal Me a Story," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987
  • "Pro Se Can You See" and "Drone of Arc," Civil Wars,1992
  • Himself, TV Nation, NBC, c. 1995
  • Al Giardello, Law & Order, NBC, 1997
  • Specials
  • Narrator, Stopping the Stalkers,1998
  • Stage Appearances
  • Othello, c. 1963
  • Fences, London, 1990
  • Appeared as Jack Johnson, The Great White Hope, produced on Broadway; also appeared on Broadway in The Zulu and the Zayda; appeared off-Broadway in The Blood Knot, Black Monday, In White America, and A Good Place to Raise a Boy.
  • Books
  • Slow Dance in the Promise Land, Ahimsa Corporation (Tacoma, WA), 1987
  • Royalty,(autobiography), 1997
  • Also wrote The Second Coming of Christ.

Further Reference


    • Jet, April 7, 1997, p. 36; June 23, 1997, p. 35.People Weekly, July 5, 1999, p. 90.
    • TV Guide, January 31, 1994, pp. 67-8; December 20, 1996, p. 33.

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