Sam Sarpong, Co-Host of MTV’s ‘Yo Momma,’ Dies at 40

Actor and model Sam Sarpong, known for co-hosting MTV’s “Yo Momma” with Wilmer Valderrama, died Monday, his rep confirmed. He was 40.

Sarpong died after jumping off a bridge in Pasadena, Calif., according to E! News. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has ruled his death a suicide, with an autopsy pending.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel Sarpong, Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away,” said his publicist in a statement. “The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time. Information about final arrangements will be forthcoming. The family appreciates the thoughts prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”

“[Sarpong] had a pure heart and always went out of his way to help others,” his rep, J.D. Sobol, told Variety. “We will all miss him dearly.”

The British-American star was born in London and moved to Los Angeles with his father when he was 11. He would go on to book modeling work, including being the face of Tommy Hilfiger for six years, as well as walking runways for Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Donna Karan.

Sarpong’s first onscreen role came in an episode of Claire Danes’ “My So-Called Life” in 1994. His big TV break, however, came in 2006, when MTV cast him as one of its co-hosts for “Yo Momma.” Sarpong and Valderrama traveled across the country for three seasons to find the best trash talkers. After the show ended in 2007, Sarpong hosted BET pre-awards show “All Access.”

His other TV credits include “Pacific Blue,” “Family Matters,” “ER,” “Boston Public,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Veronica Mars,” “Bones” and “24.” He also had a role in FX’s heavily buzzed “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” which is set to debut next year.

He appeared in films “Carmen: The Hip Hopera,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” and “Anchor Baby.”

Sarpong is survived by his father, Samuel Sarpong Sr., and his sister, June.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 50

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. CKH says:

    what a pessimistic ass you are

  2. Kromsnaveland says:

    Depression is a tragedy. RIP respects to his family.

  3. John E. says:

    Why are people with talent like Sam doing that? Success doesn’t guarantee lasting fame, if there is any such thing…..He seems onscreen to be such a workable character actor and will be sorely missed!

  4. He is not the first person to jump off that bridge. The Colorado Street Bridge has a long history of suicide.

  5. Phil says:

    Just re-read the article and the list of his TV credits. Not one rings a bell.
    Come to think of it, I haven’t watched MTV since they stopped playing music videos and switched to broadcasting trash more than 15 years ago.

  6. Barrysoetero says:

    We need sensible bridge safety laws

  7. Evan says:

    Donna “Karen?” LOL

  8. I am NOT George Clooney says:

    A permanent solution to temporary problems. Poor man. He needed Jesus not celebrity fame and fortune. Praying for his father and sister.

  9. jj says:

    Donna Karen? ReallyVariety? You can’t spell Donna Karan right?

  10. MTV still exists? Wow… that’s news to me…

    • jondoe says:

      Wow, a person who reads Variety but doesn’t know that MTV is a network. It’s like finding someone at MIT that doesn’t know math.

      • Well, not actually too difficult in today’s world I would start in the climatology department. Shouldn’t take more than the first person you talk to.

      • I am NOT George Clooney says:

        MTV. really? Are you like 40 years old but stuck on 14?
        MTV is completely irrelevant. Like your comment.

      • twinstick says:

        Yes, we all know that MTV is a ‘network’. What is surprising is the fact that it is still on the air.

  11. It’s tragic when a person reaches such a state of agony or despair that he commits suicide. R.I.P.

  12. Angel says:

    Depression is a disease.
    Depression can be a silent killer.
    Depression is not something that a human being can automatically turn off.
    Depression can take full control over a human being life. It can be a destroyer.
    Depression can starve the mind, and steer a human being in unwanted places.
    Depression can snatch away every ounce of a human being happiness.

    Depression is far too often overlooked, bypassed, ignored, hidden, swept under the rug, labeled as something else, kept a secret, untreated, misinterpreted, misunderstood, excused, under treated, and misleading.

    Education and an increase in awareness are greatly needed to help save lives.

    My heart goes out to every human soul that is suffering from this debilitating disease.

  13. He didn’t just die, he killed himself.

  14. Angela says:

    Wrong location for his birth-place in the video. Map is not of London, England. Derp!

  15. Heidi Gsix says:


  16. Heidi Gsix says:


  17. Shemaiah Grace Odibo says:

    Really sad stories of the young and very successful taking their own lives. I wonder whatelse coykd be missing that would create such acts if desperation. Are there no counsellors occasional or otherwise that can reach out to these youbg successes to help them handle the surealness of their luves?.it is such a shame and a huge waste of talent and lives.

  18. Tom Smith says:

    So this is a TV/Film website. How many of the people featured here do you know? Yet here you are. Your post sheds light into your intelligence or lack of.

  19. Was he taking “anti-depressants”? They seem to be the cause of a lot of bad “side effects” ;-( (read the labels people!)

  20. I obviously don’t know him… public life takes a heavier toll. I apologize, I sighed in relief that I didn’t read he had children… That likely sounds cruel, but being around family survived by suicide victims, and being involved with families that have had attempts… it’s devastating. I’m so sorry to his family and loved ones. I apologize if my comment is cruel. Only thinking small blessings. I hope he is peaceful now. I’m sorry.

  21. Another transcendent soul passes out of Hollywood.

  22. jillpanic says:


  23. joeycee says:

    we lost one of the greats

    • Col. Angus says:

      One of the great what?

    • John Miller says:

      My best friend committed suicide: great, no – selfish yes. Nonetheless, the fact that this person killed himself is certainly sad and there are likely some people who will miss him.

      • Janice says:

        Billions of people will never know you either. I pray your death will never be mocked or nonchalantly spoken sbout because ‘no one knew you’. Get some empathy in your sad life.

    • richard says:

      Greats? Your world is so small. He is unknown in the real world.

  24. This is why I took my pollution box (television) and put it at the back of the closet on the floor. I may have found myself in the same situation.

  25. Nasty trolls! Feel for his family /friends who didn’t know how he was suffering; depression affects even the successful. Too sensitive for this world!

  26. JACK NICHOLS says:

    Several people have jumped off that bridge, most people in that area call it suicide bridge…too bad.

  27. Renee says:

    Wow these comments are very mean. That’s someone’s brother, son & friend. My condolences to his family and friends.

  28. Michael Dearing says:

    Clearly, all media sites have moderators. Clearly, tthis site also has a moderator. Clearly, sites with thousands and thousands of articles, may take a bit of time to remove offending posts. Clearly, there are posters who think moderation should take place immediately. Clearly, said posters should notify site of offensive posts to help, BEFORE they post their high horse posting.

  29. Gary ulster says:

    never heard of him…but sorry any time a life is lost.

  30. ManOnPoint says:

    My condolences to his family…

  31. Linda Deaton says:

    And you’ll still be living in your mom’s basement.

More TV News from Variety