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Actor Sonny Landham has died from congestive heart failure in Lexington, Kentucky. He was 76. Landham is an actor who was most prominent during the 80's and 90's, typically portraying big muscular men in action movies. He is most famous for his roles in the original Predator film and movies such as 48 Hrs., Action Jackson, and Lock Up.
Sonny Landham began his career in Hollywood appearing in X-rated films in the 70's. His movie career took a turn when he earned a bit role as a police officer in Walter Hill's 1979 street-gang thriller The Warriors, wherein a street-gang must make it back to their turf while hiding from rival gangs looking to kill them. Landham would soon follow that appearance up with his biggest role yet in the action comedy 48 Hrs. Also directed by Walter Hill, Landham played Billy Bear, a trigger happy criminal in opposition to Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy's characters.
After that, Landham mostly appeared as a tough guy in 80's action movies such as Action Jackson and Lock Up, his booming voice and big figure making him a natural for the parts. Arguably the most prominent role of his career was starring in the original Predator. Premiering in 1987, the classic sci-fi film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a gun's blazing military type leading his team through a mission in a South American jungle when they realize they are being hunted by an alien. Among the members of the team was Landham as Billy Sole, a tracker with Native American ancestry. Billy would end up getting killed by the Predator after making his final stand against the hunter in order to buy his surviving teammates time to escape. He did not appear in any of the Predator sequels.
Following Predator, Landham would continue to act throughout the 90's. He has over 50 acting credits to his name over the course of his long career. In 2003, he left the movie business in order to pursue a political career. He made a brief campaign for the governor of Kentucky, but was unable to secure the Republican Party nomination. He also ran for Kentucky State Senate in 2004 but once again did not secure a nomination. In 2008, he was nominated by Kentucky's Libertarian party for a seat in the U.S. Senate, but his nomination was rescinded after comments he made on a political radio show.
You can watch a clip of Sonny Landham in the opening scene of 48 Hrs. down below.
Sonny Landham is survived by his son, William, and daughter, Priscilla.