Kotto married three times in his life – finally to Tessie Sinahon, originally from the Philippines – and fathered a total of six children with his first two wives. He was a storyteller with a poetic sense of language. And he was a deeply religious political conservative, endorsing Donald Trump in 2016 and posting about QAnon on Facebook towards the end of his life.
Kotto was also – as people may have described him in Harlem 100 years ago – a dedicated “pedigree” who gave a lot of thought to the types of roles he sought and accepted, always looking to see if the role would expand the meaning of industry. what actors of color might do. Kotto was particularly aware of being a six foot tall black man with broad shoulders, a deep voice and dark accomplices – a physical type who risked being classified as an anonymous servant, soldier, or street criminal. . Kotto didn’t want this for himself. He got into the theater because he idolized Marlon Brando and wanted to become the black answer to this kind of performer: electrifying, intellectual, free-spirited, with a career path that never ceased to amaze fans.
“I studied all of his films,” Kotto told SyFy Wire a few years ago. “I went to the same school he attended, the Actors Studio in New York. I dated the same people. He was the only actor there was. And I was told he felt the same for Me. Although he once said, ‘There’s only one other person who has a strange name like mine, and that’s Yaphet Kotto.’ ”
After the critical success of “Blue Collar” and the box office success of “Alien”, Kotto was on the shortlist to play Lando Calrissian in the 1980s “The Empire Strikes Back”, directed by George mentor Lucas Irvin Kershner, director of Kotto on “Raid on Entebbe”. He turned it down because he had just done “Alien” and didn’t want to be categorized as a sci-fi regular. He was eager to move on to “Brubaker”, a film on earth.
Kotto was at the top of Gene Roddenberry’s wishlist to play Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, which premiered in syndication in 1987, but he turned it down because in the At the time, theatrical films were considered more prestigious. If he had said yes, the Federation would have had a black captain six years earlier. (Avery Brooks has the honor of playing ‘Captain Benjamin Sisko on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”) This was one of the only times he made an offer and later regretted it.