Sad news today, as we’ve learned that Aliens star Al Matthews has passed away at the age of 75. Matthews, who memorably played the cigar-smoking Sgt. Apone in James Cameron’s 1986 sequel, was found dead in his home in Spain over the weekend.
Al Matthews, born in November 1942, was actually a military sergeant in real life; according to his IMDb bio, “while on combat duty during the Vietnam War, Matthews became the first black Marine to be meritoriously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.” In his six years in the Marine Corps, Matthews was awarded two purple hearts and 13 combat awards.
In addition to Aliens, Matthews played similar true-to-life roles in other notable films, including Superman III, The Fifth Element, and Tomorrow Never Dies.