Sonny Landham, known for his warrior death in 'Predator,' dies at 76

Not everyone retreated to the helicopter in the action classic which is 1987’s Predator.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch led the retreat from Predator‘s unseen killing creature, Sonny Landham’s Native American tracker Billy Sole stood his ground and bravely accepted one of film’s most glorious deaths.

Landham’s Predator role and his life were remembered following news that the 76-year-old actor had died Thursday.

Landham’s sister, Dawn Boehler, told the AP that the actor died from congestive heart failure Thursday at a Lexington, Ky., hospital.

The brawny actor and stuntman played a bit part in Walter Hill’s 1979 street-gang thriller The Warriors before the director cast him as the trigger-happy criminal Billy Bear in 1982′s 48 Hrs.

But Landham, who was part Cherokee and Seminole, was most known for holding his own as Sole in the Predator film, which also starred some of the biggest action stars of the 1980s, such as Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers.

In the death scene, Sole grows fed up with the retreat and stands his ground, even sliding a knife slowly across his chest to allow the blood to flow to attract the creature.

Director John McTiernan cut from Sole’s steadfast battle stare to the South American forest with the fleeing rest of the crew. Sole’s death was not seen on screen (only his deep-throated cry is heard). The injured Schwarzenegger then lets out his famed “Get to the choppa” line.

Schwarzenegger paid tribute to Landham on Twitter, saying he was “such a joy to work with on Predator, so talented, so fun to be around.”

Charlie Sheen also tweeted a warrior shot of Landham, saying “R.I.P. good sir…”

Landham’s early work in the 1970s included several X-rated films before breaking into 1980s films, including roles in Action Jackson and Lock Up. With over 50 acting credits to his name, Landham continued to appear in films through the 1990s.

In 2003, Landham embarked on a brief campaign for the governor of Kentucky, but was unable to secure the Republican Party’s nomination.

Landham also ran for the Kentucky State Senate in 2004, and was nominated by Kentucky’s Libertarian party in 2008 for one of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seats, although his comments on a political radio show caused the party to rescind his nomination a few days later.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

 

 

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