31 Dec 2015

In loving memory - Remarkable members of the Bond family

As the year is coming to an end, we have to conclude that 2015 was a very sad year for the Bond family and the fans across the world as several notable Bond actors has passed away.

Louis Jourdan (1921-2015)

On 14 February 2015, one of the best Bond villains in the series, Louis Jourdan, passed away at the age of 93. The French actor was born in Marseille in 1921 and will always be remembered for his portrayal of the exiled Afghan Prince Kamal Khan in Octopussy in 1983.

              "You have a nasty habit, of surviving..."

Jourdan is the Bond villain that, probably more than any other villain, is most like Bond when it comes to being a gentleman. Jourdan provided one of the more notable performances in the Bond series and is also a personal favourite of mine. In addition to his numerous film performances, Jourdan was part of the French resistance during WWII.

Robert Rietty (1923-2015)

On 3 April 2015, the British actor Robert Rietty passed away after a career that spanned over 70 years including several Bond films. He actually only appeared on screen briefly in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969 and in Never Say Never Again in 1983, but his notable voice appeared in several other films.

Rietty played the Baccarat official in the casino in On Her Majesty's Secret Service where Tracy loses 20 000 Francs.

                     "A bank a vingt mille! Vingt mille a bank!" 

In addition to his on-screen appearances, Rietty became largely involved in the post-production of many films, ultimately becoming the "King of dubbers" and the "man of a thousand voices", providing the voice of several roles in the Bond series, including Strangways in Dr. No, Tanaka in You Only Live Twice, Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only and the fantastic voice of Emilio Largo in Thunderball. 

Rietty was of Italian heritage and was knighted for his contribution to the Italian entertainment industry. He starred in hundreds of films and TV series and a few minor roles include i.a. The Italian Job, The Persuaders!, The Avengers and more recently Hannibal.

 Sir Christopher Lee, CBE (1922-2015)

Sir Christopher Lee, probably one of the most famous and renowned actors in the world, passed away on 7 June 2015 at the age 93. It is of course impossible to try to summarize his career but for the Bond fans he will always be remembered for the role of Fransisco Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun in 1974. He had earlier become famous for the role of Dracula and played villains frequently. He ended his career with, among several other films, the trilogies of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. 

                "You see, Mr. Bond, like all great artists I want to create one indisputable masterpiece. The                   death of 007, mano a mano, will be mine..."

His military record during WWII is almost as extensive and diversified as his acting career. Lee joined the RAF, became both a flying officer and an intelligence officer and served in Europe, Africa and India before retiring from the RAF in 1946. Lee was knighted for his services to drama and charity in 2009. He spoke numerous languages fluently (besides French and German) and spoke Swedish to his co-stars Maud Adams and Britt Ekland during the filming of The Man With the Golden Gun. 

Christopher Lee remains one of the coolest actors in the world and is probably one of the few Bond villains who actually has killed another man in real life. 

Patrick Macnee (1922-2015)

Patrick Macnee passed away on 25 June 2015, 93 years old. Although he became famous for his role as the secret agent John Steed in the British television series The Avengers (with i.a. Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg as co-stars), it is as Bond's ally Sir Godfrey Tibbet he will be most remembered to the Bond family. Posing as Bond's valet and chauffeur, they infiltrate the horse auction of Max Zorin together to find out more about Zorin's activities.

Macnee starred in several TV and film productions throughout the decades but it was with the bowler hat and umbrella in the Avengers that he is mostly associated. They were the key elements of John Steed's persona together with the slightly mysterious demeanour and the suave, flirting tone with ladies, not completely unlike Bond.

                                  "We're on a mission."

Among some of Macnee's more notable achievements, he was expelled from Eton for selling pornography and being a bookmaker for his fellow students.

Gabriele Ferzetti (1925-2015)

Less than a month ago, on 2 December 2015, the Italian actor Gabriele Ferzetti died after appearing in over 160 films, stage plays and television series throughout his career. Ferzetti will of course always be remembered for the role of Tracy's father, Marc Ange Draco, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969.

Ferzetti's performance remains one of the best of the supporting cast in the Bond series and the scene where Draco reveals Tracy's life story to Bond in the beginning of the film is unquestionably one of the strongest scenes in the film (if not the series). Draco remains one of Bond's best allies and Ferzetti contributed to making On Her Majesty's Secret Service to the best Bond film in the series. Ferzetti's career peaked in the 1950's and 1960's but he remained active well into the 21st century.

"Do not kill me Mr Bond, at least not until we have had a drink..."

It is sad that so many notable actors, who all were with us in the beginning of 2015 now have left us. Nevertheless, all six actors that have played Bond are still with us.

James Bond locations will return in 2016. 
Happy New Year!

Her price is far above rubies, or even, your million pounds... 

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