Al Matthews, best known for playing Gunnery Sergeant Apone in Aliens (1986), has died aged 75.
El Pais reports that the actor was found dead in his home, in Orihuela Costa, in the Spanish Mediterranean province of Alicante, on Sunday, after a neighbour called the emergency services.
Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Matthews had served as a Marine in the Vietnam War. His website states: “I hold thirteen combat awards and decorations, including two purple hearts. I was the first black Marine in the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam to be meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant”.
Alongside his role in Aliens, Matthews also played the fire chief in Superman III (1983), a workman in Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), and General Tudor in The Fifth Element (1997). He returned to the role of Sgt Apone nearly 30 years later, when he voiced the character in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013).
He also had a strong career in the UK, where he appeared on Grange Hill as the father of Benny Green and had his song “Fool” reach number 16 in the UK Singles Chart in 1975.
He retired in Spain in 2005, although his last film was this year’s The Price of Death, which is currently in post-production.>