The great and often very cool Yaphet Kotto has left the planet. He was 81, and I’m sorry. Condolences to family, friends, colleagues, fans.

FBI agent Alonzo Mosley, a slow-burning straight man in Martin Brest‘s Midnight Run (’88), is my first and fondest Kotto recollection. Next is Lieutenant Pope in Across 110th Street (’72). Third is his performance as Parker, chief Nostromo engineer in Ridley Scott‘s Alien (’79). Fourth is Kotto’s Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big in Live and Let Die (’73), but that was a flagrantly racist film and I didn’t care for the way he died — being inflated like a balloon until he burst.

I should have watched NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street (’93 to ’99), in which he played Lieutenant Al Giardello, but I didn’t watch it much.

Kotto always felt genuine to me — authentic, steady, nothing but truth.