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
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
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
of the Tarot and puts fear in all the employees with Voodoo superstition
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.