Bond's Dr. No dies at 91
Joseph Wiseman, the stage and screen actor who played the title role in "Dr. No," the first James Bond film, has died at the age of 91.
Speaking with The New York Times, his daughter, Martha Graham Wiseman, said her father had recently been in declining health.
Based on the Ian Fleming novel of the same name, "Dr. No" premiered at the London Pavilion in October 1962, the first entry in what would become a nearly 50-year Bond franchise. The 22nd film in the official series, "Quantum of Solace," starring Daniel Craig as 007, was released last year, and a 23rd is on the way.
"Dr. No" starred Sean Connery as Bond, with Wiseman filing the role of Bond's larger-than-life antagonist, a self-described "unwanted child of a German missionary and a Chinese girl of a good family [who] became treasurer of the most powerful criminal society in China" and lost both hands in a radiation accident.
"I'm a member of SPECTRE," Wiseman said as Dr. Julius No. "Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion. The four great cornerstones of power headed by the greatest brains in the world."
"Correction," Connery's Bond replied. "Criminal brains."
"The successful criminal brain is always superior," said No. "It has to be."
Wiseman's other film credits include such familiar titles as "Detective Story" (1951), "Viva Zapata!" (1952), "The Silver Chalice" (1954), "The Unforgiven” (1960), "The Night They Raided Minsky’s" (1968), and "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" (1974). And his list of television credits includes guest spots in everything from the original Rod Serling "Twilight Zone" to "LA Law" to, most recently, "Law & Order."
He was also a stage actor, appearing most recently on Broadway in the 2001 adaptation of the film "Judgment at Nuremberg." Other Broadway credits include "Abe Lincoln in Illinois"(1938), "Antony and Cleopatra" (1947), "The Lark” (1955)," and "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer" (1969), in which he played the title role.
But most will remember him for another title role. ®
When "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was made Telly Savalas wasn't Kojak yet, he was still the creepy guy from "The Dirty Dozen" and was a perfectly defensible casting choice, except that he was following Donald Pleasence in the role, which would have been a no-win situation for any actor, but with the change from Connery to Lazenby (who would have been acceptable as Bond if Connery had never played him) as well, it made the movie look like a discount version of Bond.
Of course it had Diana Rigg, which made up for a lot, and the very effective ending with the Louis Armstrong performance of "All The Time In The World".
I am sure I have worked for him in a recent job ... apparently he has not one but two Ferraris.
@No, you're not confused, Hollywood is!
If you really want to compare the book and film, Honey Ryder walks out of the sea naked in the book, but in a bikini in the film. That is far more sacreligous than how Dr No lost his paws.