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'Predator', '48 Hours' Actor Dies Of Heart Failure At 76-Years-Old

The bad news from Hollywood just keeps on coming.

Sonny Landham, an actor who started out in porn films before moving on to mainstream movies, is dead at the age of 76.

According to Mirror, the action-picture star who was also a stuntman succumbed to congestive heart failure. His sister, Dawn Boehler, told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at a hospital in Lexington, Ky. The actor left two children, William and Priscilla.

Landham played the Native American tracker Billy Sole in “Predator,” a 1987 hit that also featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers. USA Today recalled that in one scene, Landham’s character was the hero when he cut himself in the chest with a knife to lure a blood-thirsty creature to its death.

Landham had the bad-guy role of Billy Bear in the popular 1982 movie “48 Hours.” Also among the actor’s 50 film credits were “Firewalker,” in 1986; “The Warriors,” in 1979; and the fast-paced flicks “Action Jackson” and “Lock Up.” Landham did a number of X-rated movies in the 1970s, and continued his Hollywood career through the 1990s. Variety noted that he was part Seminole and Cherokee.

Landham took several shots at politics. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor of Kentucky in 2003. According to Wikipedia, his main issue was his disagreement with state officials’ decision to endorse the Kentucky Family Court.

He argued that the panel favored lawyers over children and their families. After being rebuffed by the GOP, Landham got onto the ballot as an independent candidate before ending his campaign and backing the Republican nominee.

In 2004, Landham ran for the Kentucky state Senate. Four years later, he was the Libertarian candidate in a U.S. Senate race until the party dropped him because of his controversial remarks during an interview on the political radio program “The Weekly.”

He described people of Middle Eastern descent as “camel dung shovelers,” “camel jockeys” and “ragheads.” Republican Mitch McConnell, who is now the Senate Majority Leader, won the 2008 Senate election.

Schwarzenegger tweeted Saturday: “Sonny Landham was such a joy to work with on ‘Predator’; so talented, so fun to be around. We’ll miss him. My thoughts are with his family.” Another famous actor, Charlie Sheen, used Twitter to proclaim: “R.I.P. good sir.”

The action star was born William M. Landham on Feb. 11, 1941, in Canton, Ga. He grew up in Rome, Ga., before moving to Kentucky. In addition to his Native American heritage, Landham claimed to have Jewish ancestry.

However, he went to Saint Mary’s Catholic School, as well as Darlington School. He was a football player for one year at the University of Georgia.

Landham’s private life featured five marriages, which produced four children. A federal court found him guilty of placing threatening and obscene phone calls to one of his wives. In May 2001, after the actor had served three years behind bars, the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals rescinded the sentence.

Alpha Sigma Phi, Beta Chi Chapter at American University, named Landham an honorary member in 2006.

Source: Mirror
Photos: Legacy, IMDB, YouTube

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