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Washed Up Celebrities: Sonny Landham

Sonny Landham is a former actor and former political candidate, best known for appearing in a number of action films throughout the 1980's including 48 Hrs. and Predator.


Landham was born in Canton, Georgia on February 11, 1941. He is of American Indian heritage, though I can't find any official information on what tribes he is descended from. Wikipedia says he is of both Seminole and Cherokee heritage so take that as possibly being true.

Landham started his career out in the adult film industry as pornographic actor. He eventually managed to break into mainstream film in the late 70's, beginning with a small appearance in the 1979 cult classic The Warriors as a police officer.


Throughout the 1980's Landham had several small or supporting roles in action films, such as in the Sylvester Stallone film Lock Up and as one of the main antagonists in the Eddie Murphy film 48 Hrs. Landham's most notable role however was in the 1987 film Predator.

Landham played the role of Billy Sole in Predator, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's fellow soldiers in the movie. He pretty much played a stereotypical Indian character, having this 'sixth sense" where he could feel the Predator's presence, and having another character tell him that he's not supposed to "fear no man". Landham's character was the only character in the film whose death was never shown, and he had a pretty famous moment as he eventually decides to stand his ground against the Predator and his friends escape deeper into the woods.

Reportedly, Landham was a real pain in the **s to work with, often going into violent rages on the set. Xenopedia reports that bodyguards had to be hired on the set just to protect crew members from his behavior. I'm guessing this might be one reason why Landham's career started to dwindle after Predator. As the 80's drew to a close, Landham's career pretty much dried up. He seems to have appeared in several small films since the 90's, but it looks like he hasn't done any work in nearly 10 years.


Landham has not aged well over the years, another reason why I think his career has gone downhill. I was shocked when I first started this article to see what he looked like today. He looks like he's about a second away from having a heart attack or stroke. I understand that he's in his mid-70's, but d**n. I take it that Landham might be having some serious health problems. During my research, I found a video put out by a conservative organization where Landham was talking with a group of fellow political activists, and appears in several shots that Landham was sitting in a wheelchair, suggesting that he has lost his ability to walk.

Deciding to follow in the footsteps of fellow Predator actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, Landham tried to have a career in politics in the 2000's, though not to the success either of those men saw. Landham tried first to run for the Governor of Kentucky in 2003 first as a Republican, then as an Independent after he failed to gain the Republican nomination. Eventually he dropped out and just endorsed the Republican ticket.

Going where every reject from the Republican and Democratic parties go, Landham decided to get involved with the Libertarian Party. He decided to run in 2008 against Mitch McConnell for a U.S. Senate seat, however, Landham killed his chance when he went on a political radio show and made racist comments by referring to Arab's as "rag heads". The Libertarian Party decided to revoke Landham from being on their ticket for this offense, bringing an end to his political candidacy.

Landham was never a big star, but he had his moments in the sun. Unfortunately, Landham really has fallen down to some low levels. I'm not going to judge him completely on one bad comment he made, but he doesn't seem to be a good person from some of the things that I have read on him. All in all, Sonny Landham is a washed up celebrity!


Right before I was about to submit this article for approval, I found yet another video on YouTube just uploaded recently, not even two weeks at the time of the writing of this article, that reveals quite a bit of information on Sonny Landham. Apparently Landham has fallen on some hard times and is suffering from health problems. Not only is he on a breathing tube, my wheelchair theory is right as Landham has apparently lost the ability to walk after having both of his legs amputated. Friends of his have apparently set up two separate GoFundMe campaigns to raise funds for him.

I feel kind of bad for making fun of the guy at points in this article. I try to base these articles around people who are complete **sholes. I leave judgement for everyone else to make.

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OldSchool80s Posted on Mar 23, 2017 at 02:04 PM

Remember him well as Billy Bear in 48 Hrs. and then of course from Predator. Had not known what had happened to him, so thanks for the update (although a little sad).

NLogan Posted on Mar 21, 2017 at 02:30 PM

My favorite Landham movies are Predator of course and Best of the Best 2.

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