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Yaphet Kotto was among the throngs of people who watched Martin Luther King Jr. speak during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. And, he said years later, Alien helped him realize the answer to a question he asked himself at that very moment.
Kotto died Monday. He was 81.
During a 2003 Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival tied to a screening of the director’s cut of the 1979 sci-fi classic, Kotto, who played chief engineer Parker in the film, shared a powerful story.
“At the March on Washington, I stood there on the steps, watching Dr. King talk about his dream,” Kotto began. “And I wondered whether or not I would ever see that dream, so far from my goal.”
The actor said he visited the same spot many years later with his oldest daughter. “We went to the spot where I was standing. And I was telling her how, years before I stood there listening to Dr. King’s speech,” he explained. “And a bus pulled up with a bunch of children from Japan. They got out of the bus and they ran toward me. I couldn’t understand what they were speaking, but there was one thing that blew me away, the fact that they were all saying one word: Alien.”
Kotto continued, “And it was so spooky because I realized that the dream had come true.” Following his story, Kotto thanked director Ridley Scott for giving him the opportunity.
Watch the full video below.
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