Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto)


Actor: Yaphet Kotto
Character: Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big
Movie: Live And Let Die
Date of Birth: 15 November 1937
Height: 6' 4" (1.93m)
Distinguishing Feature: Dual personalities
Appearance: Haitian/French nationality, medium-large build
Status: Terminated
Organisations & Alliances: Tee Hee, Rosie Carver, Whisper, Solitaire

Leading a double life - first as a prominent ambassador to the small island-nation of San Monique and second as the infamous mobster Mr. Big on the streets of New York City - Kananga is a loud-mouthed, politically savvy man.

With a twisted and villainous mind, Mr. Big ruins lives on a whim with his drugs empire, whilst dignified and respected Dr. Kananga sees that his homeland is put on the map in UN the congress.

It is with slick precision that this man leads his double life, but not without a little help from the gifted Solitaire. The kept mistress of Kananga is blessed with the foresight and the skill of the Tarot and puts fear in all the employees with Voodoo superstition and taboo.

"Tee Hee, on Solitaire's first wrong answer, you will sever the little finger of Mr Bond's left hand. On the next wrong answer, you will move on to more... vital parts of his anatomy."

Kananga is hoarding and stockpiling heroine, which Mr. Big carefully distributes through a chain of NYC restaurants. Kananga plans to monopolise and flood the drug market with his own, particularly addictive heroine. By giving away a massive one tonne of the drug to all those after a score, Kananga sees himself in big business forever. With a predicted tripling of addicts, if not for Bond, Mr. Big will forever drip-feed the drugs and exorbitant prices.

I've Been Expecting You
"Names is for tombstones, baby."

Bond is tailing Kananga to New York and one of his Fillet of Soul restaurants - after ordering a drink and some information on the side, 007 has a nasty turn in the booth. Face to face with the mobster, Mr. Big, Bond tries to sweet-talk himself out of the predicament. There would be no saving Bond's white-face-in-Harlem if not for his friends at the CIA - arriving on the scene just in time.


Kananga has hideouts right across America and the Caribbean - from carefully hidden backrooms in bars to expansive cliff top estates in tropical islands - the mobster come diplomat jet sets from one headquarters to another on the government"s money. The heroine plant is located on the island of San Monique, carefully guarded by the Voodoo superstition and well-hidden deep under an eerie graveyard. The laboratory where GMO and testing was performed on the suped-up drug is at Kananga's Crocodile farm - the perfect cover with the perfect guards.

Gadgets & Vehicles
As a well-traveled ambassador, Kananga has a variety of "company-cars" the pride of which has to be the pimped up Cadillac that Whisper takes a spin in to kill off Bonds innocent cab driver on the way to rendezvous with Felix. A less attention-grabbing vehicle is his underground train-line, used for transporting the heroine from his San Monique headquarters to the coast.


Dress Code
Dr. Kananga the diplomat dresses in high collar black and white suits, with a red posy often in his button-hole and a handkerchief residing neatly in the top pocket. Mr. Big, the Harlem gangster, opts for leather jackets, loud patterned shirts and a bandana around the neck.

Goodbye, Mr Bond
Dr. Kananga comes to an explosive end after Bond infiltrates the Heroine plant, blows up the poppy-fields and swims with Kananga's sharks. After wrestling with the greedy diplomat Bond pops a pellet from Q's shark gun into his mouth. The compressed CO2 sees Kananga explode from the inside out.

Born in New York City in 1937 to a nurse and the Crown Price of Cameroon, Yaphet Frederick Kotto was brought up (and remains so today) a strict practicing Jew. Growing up an African Jew in NYC made school life hard on Yaphet and says "It was rough coming up. Having to face people who were primarily Baptist in the Bonx meant that on Fridays I was in some heavy fistfights." Nevertheless, with a clear focus on what he wanted from life, Yaphet never rejected his beliefs. At age 16 he enrolled in the Actors Mobile Theatre Studio and within three years he landed roles in local and professional theatre - including understudying James Earl Jones.

In 1964, at age 27 Yaphet Kotto landed his first film role in "Nothing But A Man", an Ivan Dixon drama. He has since moved from strength to strength, winning roles in TV-classics such as "Hawaii Five-O", "Gunsmoke" and "The A Team".

In 1972 Yaphet Kotto took on his first personal project, a film entitled "The Limit" for which he wrote, directed and produced the picture as well as taking the lead role on screen.

It was the 1973 Bond outing, "Live And Let Die", that flung him into stardom and the Hollywood scene. Since his run-in with 007, Kotto has performed roles in well known cinema and TV including: TV cop-drama "Hill Street Blues", Stephen King"s "The Running Man", Ridley Scott"s award-winning "Alien".

Most recently, Kotto can be seen in the successful cop-drama "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Witless Protection", Charles Robert Carter"s new comedy.