Native Actor Sonny Landham Walks on at 76. Schwarzenegger Says ‘We’ll Miss Him’
Sonny Landham, a Seminole and Cherokee actor who had more than 50 film and television credits since the 1970’s, and whose work included well-known roles in such films as Predator, 48 Hrs. Poltergeist and The Warriors, has walked on at age 76. In a tweet, Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote, “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.”
Born William Landham on February 11, 1941, in Canton, Georgia, Sonny Landham walked on due to congestive heart failure Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky.
Sonny Landham’s career began in the early 1970s, with roles in such films as The Warriors and the original Poltergeist. His role in 1982 as Billy Bear, a criminal opposite Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs gained him considerable notice which led to guest roles on The A-Team, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Fall Guy and Miami Vice on Television.
He also continued in film and scored a role role opposite Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett Jr. in Firewalkerin 1986. In 1989, Sonny Landham played a fellow prisoner alongside Sylvester Stallone in the movie Lock Up.
Arguably, Sonny Landham’s best-known acting role was as the Native tracker alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the hugely successful film Predator in 1987.
Sonny Landham worked steadily through the 1990’s but took a break from the film world. While he did add a few more horror film credits to his belt up until 2007, he had also campaigned for Governor of Kentucky and for the Kentucky State Senate.
He earned the Libertarian Party nomination in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2008, but bowed out due to strong comments on a political radio show.
Sonny Landham is survived by two children: his son, William, and his daughter, Priscilla.
Sonny Lanham’s IMDb Biography:
An actor with a powerful physique, booming voice and who has played several Native American characters, Sonny Landham first broke into mainstream film with a bit part as a police officer in Walter Hill’s gang film The Warriors, then other minor roles in Southern Comfort & Poltergeist, before Walter Hill cast him in his first decent role as James Remar‘s gun happy, criminal partner in the high voltage hit 48 Hrs.. Landham continued to turn up in high testosterone films of the mid 1980s including the action sci-fi film Predator, alongside Sylvester Stallone in Lock Up, and being hurled out a window by Carl Weathers in Action Jackson. His career on screen wound down during the 1990s, but he still managed to crop up in several roles taking advantage of his strong physical presence.