Are you a fan of the James Bond films? Especially when you look back at the older films, you’ll get to watch some of the best actors in film history in one of cinema’s most exciting film franchises.
Sadly, many great James Bond actors are no longer with us. We know that Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore – the first two Bonds – have passed away. But there are also many great Bond villains, Bond girls, and supporting characters who helped make the films into complete masterpieces.
Many of these great actors have also left us. While they are no longer with us, they left behind a legacy that any James Bond fan will remember fondly.
Let’s look at some of the great James Bond actors who are no longer with us…
One of the most famous henchmen in the Bond films Jaws played by actor Richard Kiel. Richard Kiel was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable character actors.
He stood at 7 foot 2 inches tall and had a dominating presence in many of his films. He played bit parts in popular television shows such as The Twilight Zone, Wild Wild West, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Monkees.
His film career took off when he acted in The Longest Yard and Silver Streak. But nothing could have prepared him for the stardom that came with becoming a Bond henchman.
He was cast as the henchman “Jaws” in the 1976 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. The character was such a hit that the character was reprised in Moonraker which was released in 1979.
Richard Kiel continued to have a prolific film career after his work on James Bond. Younger audiences might know him best from his small role in the Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore.
But for us James Bond lovers, we’ll never forget about Richard Kiel and his excellent role as Jaws. Richard Kiel sadly passed away in 2014 from a heart attack at age 74. Join Facts Verse to know the details of James Bond Actors Who Died Tragically.
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While much of the allure of the James Bond films revolved around the Bond girls. There was one female character who never seemed to entangle herself with 007 – much as it seemed she wanted to.
The first actress to play Miss Moneypenny was Lois Maxwell. Moneypenny served as the secretary to M – who is the head of the British Secret Service, known as MI6 in the James Bond series.
We first saw Lois Maxwell embody the role in Dr. No alongside Sir Sean Connery’s Bond. Her final Bond film was in A View To A Kill in which she acted alongside Sir Roger Moore – in his finale role as 007.
In total, she appeared in 14 James Bond films. While she had appeared in 80 films and television episodes in addition to her work in James Bond, she was to be forever seen as the original Moneypenny. She worked sporadically after finishing work in the James Bond series and her final film role was in the 2001 film The Fourth Angel.
Lois Maxwell died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 80.
The Bond Girls, were of course, one of the highlights of the James Bond series. In every story, 007 had at least one female interest. By the next film, he was with another female interest.
But there was one film in which 007’s relationship with a woman went further than a short-lived affair. George Lazenby acted in one film as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The Bond Girl in this film was Countess Teresa di Vicenzo or Tracy – played by Dame Diana Rigg.
Up till then, Dame Diana Rigg was best known for her work on the British spy series The Avengers. Tracy Bond was the role that brought her to the mainstream in the world of cinema.
Following her work in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she continued to have one of most successful careers in film and television. In recent years, she was best known for her role as Lady Ollena Tyrell in Game of Thrones.
She passed away from lung cancer in September 2020 at the age of 82. Her last role was in Edgar Wright’s film Last Night In Soho which is expected to release in October 2021.
While we all root for 007, there’s also a great pleasure in watching the infamous Bond villains. One of the first Bond villains who really caught our attention was Auric Goldfinger who appeared in Goldfinger which was the third James Bond film.
German actor Gert Fröbe had begun his acting career in 1948. And had soon become a major star in his native country. He became known to English-speaking audiences when he starred as the notorious Bond villain.
After his work in the James Bond film, he returned to working mostly in German films and television programs. His English language work after Goldfinger included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bloodline.
He died of a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 75.
Of course, Auric Goldfinger had a lot of help in trying to bring 007 down. His main henchman was the strange but dangerous Oddjob.
Oddjob was played by Japanese-American actor Harold Sakata who previously had a formidable career as a wrestler. The character of Oddjob was dapper and had the ability to kill his opponents by hurling his bowler hat – which contained a sharp steel brim!
While most of us know of Harold Sakata due to his role as Oddjob, it should be mentioned that he was also a veteran of the U.S. Army. As a wrestler, he won a silver medal at the 1948 Olympic Games. His sport was weightlifting in the light-heavyweight division.
It was his exceptional career as a professional wrestler that helped him land the role of Oddjob. James Bond producer Harry Saltzman and director Guy Hamilton saw the formidable Harold Sakata wrestle and felt that he’d be perfect for Oddjob.
After his work as Oddjob, he mainly had bit parts in television shows. He had a recurring role on the TV show Sarge and his last screen role was in the film Invaders of the Lost Gold.
He died at the age of 62 in 1982 from liver cancer.
One of the reasons why James Bond was such a successful secret agent was because of his talents with gadgets and weapons. And who was the mastermind behind the weapons and gadgets?
It was Major Boothroyd, also known as Q, who was played by Desmond Llewellyn. So far, he’s one of the actors who had the longest recurring role in the James Bond series.
He first appeared as Q in From Russia With Love in 1963 and continued this role until 1999 with the Bond film The World Is Not Enough.
While Desmond Llewelyn was a prolific film actor, his work as Q remains his most popular role and the one that made him a star! He sadly died in an auto accident in 1999 at the age of 85.
One of the James Bond films that had the most unique villains was Live and Let Die which was Sir Roger Moore’s debut film as 007.
The main villain was Dr. Kananga played by Yaphet Kotto. Yaphet Kotto was one of Hollywood’s most well-known character actors. A glance at his filmography shows that he also had tremendous versatility from working in gritty films such as Across 110th Street and raucous comedies such as The Monkey Hustle. These were part of the blaxploitation films that were incredibly popular in the 1970s.
Dr. Kananga is easily one of the best-remembered Bond villains – especially if you remember the way he died in the film. Yeah, we’ll let you watch the film if you aren’t sure what we’re talking about!
Apart from his role as Dr. Kananga, Yaphet Kotto’s other roles that propelled his stardom were in the films Alien and Midnight Run. He died at the age of 81 in March 2021.
But Dr. Kananga couldn’t fight against 007 on his own! His main henchman was Tee Hee Johnson played by Julius Harris.
Julius Harris served as an Army medic during the Second World War before starting his acting career. As with Yaphet Kotto, he made his name in many of the Blaxploitation films including Superfly, Black Caesar, and Hell Up In Harlem. His work in Live and Let Die was easily one of his most memorable roles.
His later career consisted of work in television including roles in Kojak, Friday The 13th: The Series, and Good Times.
Julius Harris died at the age of 81 in 1984 from heart failure.
But we can’t end the video without talking about one character who only appeared in two James Bond films yet managed to become a favorite among Bond fans. It wasn’t usual for 007 to have a sidekick, yet in Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun he found one in the most unlikely of places.
Actor Clifton James appeared as Seargent J.W. Pepper in both of these films. He was a stereotypical Southern sheriff with a thick accent and a penchant for punishing villains. He was also a bumbling police officer who wanted to be taken more seriously.
The impeccable comic talents of Clifton James are unrivaled. Apart from his work in these two Bond films, he was a character actor with over 100 credits to his name. He also appeared in films such as Cool Hand Luke, Silver Streak, and Superman II.
His final screen role was in the film Raising Flagg alongside Alan Arkin. He died from complications due to diabetes in 2017 at the age of 96.
Are you a fan of any of these classic James Bond actors?
Do you think that their legacy continues to live on to fans of the newer James Bond films? Or do we need to promote their roles more to anyone who isn’t familiar with the older Bond movies?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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