Al Matthews, tough-guy star of 'Aliens', dies at 75

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Al Matthews in <em>Aliens</em> (Credit: 20th Century Fox)
Al Matthews in Aliens (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Al Matthews, the actor who played Gunnery Sergeant Apone in Aliens, has been found dead at his home in Spain.

El Pais reports that a neighbor on Sunday called the emergency services to his residence in Orihuela Costa, Alicante.

The cause of death is unknown and will be determined by an autopsy. He was 75.

He began acting following a career in the U.S. Marines, serving in Vietnam and receiving two Purple Hearts, before becoming the first black soldier in the 1st Marine Division to be promoted to sergeant.

Born in Brooklyn, Matthews began his acting — and also singing — career in the U.K., making the top 20 with a single called Fool in 1975.

He went on to play Benny Green’s father in several episodes of the U.K.-based series Grange Hill, and also appeared in British shows like Shelley, The Professionals, the BBC2 Playhouse series and The Comic Strip Presents.

Matthews also appeared in Superman III in 1983, before scoring the role of Apone in Aliens under director James Cameron in 1986, a role the actor reprised years later in the 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Apone reportedly inspired the character of Sergeant Avery Johnson in the Halo game series.

Matthews’s other notable roles came in such movies as The Fifth Element, the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Burt Reynolds vehicle Rough Cut before he semi-retired and relocated to Spain in the early 2000s.

According to IMDb, Matthews’s last role, in a Western called The Price of Death, is currently in post-production.

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