Sonny Landham

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Sonny Landham
Sonny Landham.jpg
Born(1941-02-11)February 11, 1941
DiedAugust 17, 2017(2017-08-17) (aged 76)
OccupationActor, filmmaker
Years active1969–2009

William M. "Sonny" Landham (February 11, 1941 – August 17, 2017) was an American film actor and stunt man. He portrayed Billy Bear in 48 Hrs. and tracker Billy Sole in Predator.[1]

Early life[edit]

Landham was born February 11, 1941, in Canton, Georgia,[2] and raised in Rome, Georgia.[3] He was a descendant of the Cherokee and Seminole tribes.[1] He also stated he had Jewish heritage.[4] He had at least one sibling, a sister, Dawn.[2]

He attended Saint Mary's Catholic School and Darlington School before playing football for a year at the University of Georgia.[3] Subsequently, he graduated from Oglethorpe University.[5] After college, he did a stint in the army, worked in an oil field, as a Baptist minister, and a model.[6]


Acting career[edit]

Landham studied acting for two years at Pasadena Playhouse before moving to New York in 1968 to pursue a career in acting.[6] At the beginning of his acting career, Landham was an actor in pornographic films.[7][8][9] He also posed for nude layout for Playgirl.[6] He then became a mainstream movie actor and appeared in a number of Hollywood films, including The Warriors (as a subway policeman whose leg gets broken by a baseball bat-wielding Michael Beck), Predator, 48 Hrs., Lock Up and Action Jackson.


In 2003, Landham ran in the Republican Party primary election for the post of Governor of Kentucky,[2] hoping to repeat the success of his Predator castmates Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He based his candidacy on opposition to an amendment which endorsed the Kentucky Family Court, saying his bad experiences at the hands of the family court had convinced him it was for the benefit of lawyers rather than families or children. He was unsuccessful in gaining the party's nomination. He ran briefly as an independent candidate, but withdrew on June 18, 2003, and endorsed the Republican slate.

In January 2004, Landham announced his candidacy for the 27th State Senate District of Kentucky. In 2005, Landham spoke at the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) convention. Landham has also appeared on the CofCC-affiliated radio show, The Political Cesspool.

On June 25, 2008, Landham announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell on the Libertarian line.[2][10] A month later, Landham repeatedly called for "genocide" against Arabs (to whom Landham referred as "camel-dung shovelers," "camel jockeys," and "rag-heads") on the political radio show The Weekly Filibuster.[4] On July 28, the Kentucky Libertarians voted unanimously to withdraw Landham's nomination, citing his comments were not in keeping with the party's platform and values.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Landham was married five times.[12] He had four children, including a son named William, and a daughter named Priscilla.[2]

After being convicted on federal charges of making threatening and obscene phone calls to his wife, Landham spent three years in prison.[2] However the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in May 2001.[13]

On September 19, 2006, Landham was injured in a four-car accident in Ashland, Kentucky.[14]


Landham died on August 17, 2017, aged 76, from congestive heart failure.[2][15]


Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Lost Man Uncredited
1971 B.S. I Love You Uncredited
1974 Special Order Teamster #1 Uncredited
Come Fly with Us Joe
Happy Days French Cook
The Love Bus Amos Johnson
The Switch or How to Alter Your Ego Huntington Van Huff
The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann Political Candidate
1975 The Defiance of Good Dr. Gabriels Patient
The Big Con Tex
The Passions of Carol Curt Reynolds
Big Abner Big Abner
Illusion of Love
1975 Abigail Leslie is Back in Town Bo
1976 Blood Bath
Virgin Snow Ben
Slippery When Wet Dougie Knowles
The Honey Cup
1977 The Trouble with Young Stuff Lane the Milkman
Big Thumbs
Sylvia Junkie #1
1978 The Ganja Express First Yellow Toga Guy Uncredited
MisBehavin' Clyde
1979 The Warriors Cop
1980 Gloria Riverside Drive Man No. 8
1981 Southern Comfort Hunter
1982 Poltergeist Pool Worker No. 2
48 Hrs. Billy Bear
1984 Fleshburn Calvin Daggai
1986 Firewalker El Coyote
1987 Predator Billy Sole
1988 Action Jackson Mr. Quick
1989 Lock Up Chink Weber
1992 Maximum Force Pimp
Three Days To A Kill Pepe TV Movie
1993 Best of the Best 2 James
Madame Hector
1994 Taxi Dancers Diamond Jim
Savage Land Lassiter
Night Realm Verrick
1995 Guns & Lipstick Albino
Fatal Choice Brick
1996 2090 Indian
Carnival of Wolves Bodyguard No. 4
Billy Lone Bear Billy Lone Bear
2007 Disintegration Boone Cagle
2009 Mental Scars Chief Bear TV movie (final film role)


Year Television Episode Role
1984 The A-Team The Island Ryker
1985 The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission Sam Sixkiller
Hardcastle and McCormick You Don't Hear the One that Gets You Sheriff Billy Blackstone
1986 The Fall Guy War of the Wheel Jake
North Star Becker
1987 Miami Vice Viking Bikers from Hell Toad


  1. ^ a b Scott, Vernon (31 July 1987). "Landham Craves Acceptance As Actor, Not As Indian". Sun-Sentinel. United Press International. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Aulbach, Lucas (August 19, 2017). "Sonny Landham, famed movie actor who attempted several runs for office in Kentucky, dies". The Courier-Journal.
  3. ^ a b Doss, Tracy M. (23 July 1989). "Former Roman Sonny Landham lands 'bad guy' role in 'Lock Up'". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Sonny Landham calls for genocide of all Arabs and Muslims". Independent Political Report. July 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  5. ^ Schreiner, Bruce (29 June 2008). "Actor tries for new role — U.S. senator". The Atlanta Constitution. Associated Press. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Sullivan, Tom (31 July 1984). "This Indian calls Manhattan home". The Herald-News. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Ex-Porn Star Enters Kentucky Governor's Race". WKMB / July 3, 2002. Archived from the original on May 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  8. ^ Crowley, Patrick (June 30, 2002). "Porn on candidate's resume". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  9. ^ "Sonny Landham". Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  10. ^ Lucas, Mary Grace (June 26, 2008). "Tough-guy actor eyes Senate seat".
  11. ^ "Libertarians drop Sonny Landham". Independent Political Report. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  12. ^ "Actor auditions for new role as Kentucky senator". Washington Times. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  13. ^ Alford, Roger. "Actor's book to tell about divorce, prison". The Cincinnati Enquirer. The Associated Press – via
  14. ^ Hart, Kenneth (2006-09-19). "Actor injured in 4-car chain-reaction wreck". The Independent. Ashland, Kentucky. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  15. ^ Nyren, Erin (August 18, 2017). "'Predator' Actor Sonny Landham Dies at 76". Variety.

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