Friday, November 28, 2008

Sonny Landham

Submitted for your consideration, the puzzling case of Sonny Landham of Ashland, KY:

  • 1974-1979: Sonny was in Z-grade porno films such as Slippery When Wet and Big Abner (an X-rated parody of the hillbilly comic strip Li'l Abner.) "I made those movies, and did I make the wrong choice," he later told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Yeah, I did. But at the time I was trying to make it as an actor, and I needed the money, and those movies paid well."

  • 1979: Sonny makes a transition to more serious films, starting with a small part in the cult classic The Warriors.

  • 1980s: Throughout the Eighties, Sonny racks up a pretty respectable climb to minor stardom. He scores small roles in big films like 48 Hrs., Southern Comfort, Poltergeist, and Action Jackson. He even obtains substantial roles in Firewalker with Chuck Norris, Lock Up with Sylvester Stallone and Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also guest stars in such big TV shows as The A-Team, Hardcastle and McCormick, Miami Vice and The Fall Guy.

  • 1990s: The next decade wasn't so kind to Sonny. Although he lands roles in films that are technically much higher quality than his 80s output, there are no commercial smashes. In 1996, he directs and stars in the well-made "Billy Lone Bear" alongside Frank Stallone. In 1998, he is convicted of three counts of making threatening telephone calls to his ex-wife during a bitter custody fight.

  • 2000: While in prison, Sonny sues toymaker Galoob for personal identity infringement because of a toy "Micro Machines" figurine of his "Billy" character from Predator. He lost the suit for several legal reasons, not the least of which being that Twentieth Century Fox indisputedly owns the character of "Billy". The judge noted "Because the toy is only 1.5 inches tall and has no eyes or mouth, it bears no personal resemblance to Landham."

  • 2001: After almost three years of being wrongly incarcerated in Federal prison, Sonny was victorious in getting his conviction quashed on appeal. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in reversing the conviction, scolded the prosecutor by stating in its decision, "Landham committed no crime.....This matter should not have been brought to trial."

  • 2003: Sonny ran - but lost - in the Republican Party primary for Governor of Kentucky, apparently hoping lightning would strike a third time after his Predator co-stars Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to political careers.

  • 2005: Sonny forms the Sonny Landham Foundation with Roger Thoney. (Landham and Thoney both would later attend the controversial Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in Louisville, and also put out a truly frightening ultra-right-wing DVD called America Under Attack.)

  • 2006: Sonny lost control of a rented 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser and crashed into a taxicab while driving in downtown Ashland. Police said Sonny was not wearing a seat belt, which caused his head to strike his windshield even though the air bag had deployed. He was treated at King’s Daughters Medical Center for his head injuries.

  • 2008: On June 25, Sonny announced his Libertarian candidacy for Mitch McConnell's U.S. Senate seat. Just one month later, he made extreme racial slurs against Arabs.

    Sonny Landham: If I had my way, I would stop Arabs coming into this country. And I would take all, uh, non citizens of the United States, finger printing them, and having a complete background check before they set foot into this country.

    Matt Cavedon: How about Lebanese Christians and Arabs who aren’t Muslims?

    Sonny Landham: What did I just say? All people. I said no Arabs into this country.

    Three days later, Kentucky Libertarians voted unanimously to withdraw Landham's nomination, citing his comments were not in keeping with the party's values.

    It's unclear what Sonny's future plans are at this point. Part of me feels sorry for him, because of the raw deal he got by being unfairly imprisoned, and because he really is a charismatic actor and coulda been a contender in Hollywood if only he'd gotten the chance to do more leading roles. However, there's just no getting around the massive atrocity of his ultra-right-wing statements against minorities. If I were in charge of his PR campaign, I would advise him to claim temporary insanity caused by the head injury, and then make the mother of all public apologies for his racist remarks.

    Apologizing just doesn't seem like Sonny's style, though.
  • 1 comment:

    DH said...

    "There's somethin' out there...and it ain't no's one of them damn A-rabs!"

    All kidding aside, I never knew he was from Ashland. 'Billy' was a central character to Predator and I could always imagine more comedic takes with that character.

    Perhaps the only thing worse than my lack of knowledge about Sonny was my lack of knowledge of his political endeavors in the state. Geez, I thought I knew a little something about my state.

    It would be great to get a hold of some of his campaign propaganda if any even exists.