He had a strength on screen that was both palpable and genuine, and although his memorable screen presence will live on forever, it is with great sadness that we share the news that actor Sonny Landham has passed away at the age of 76.
According to the Associated Press, Landham passed away from congestive heart failure on August 17th at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Landham's sister, Dawn Boehler, confirmed the sad news.
An actor and stunt man, Landham is perhaps best known for his role as Billy, one of the commandos who goes up against a vicious alien hunter in the seminal sci-fi action film Predator.
Landham also had roles in several movies that have gone on to become only more beloved with the passing of time, including The Warriors, 48 Hrs., Poltergeist, and Southern Comfort. Landham also worked behind the camera, directing 1996's Billy Lone Bear, in which he also starred.
As someone who watched Predator a lot growing up, I was always in awe of Landham's powerhouse performance in one of the most seminal sci-fi films of the ’80s. His somber acceptance of the grim fate that awaited Dutch's group out in the jungle has always stuck with me, and his decision to stay behind and make a final stand at the log crossing is a heartbreaking and fascinating scene to watch.
Predator recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and Landham is one of the reasons it still connects with viewers and will continue to do so for future generations. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time, and Landham's co-star from Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, posted his condolences on Twitter:
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. pic.twitter.com/SoNbRJEwgV
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) August 19, 2017