Happy 100th, Cubby Broccoli

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of James Bond producer Albert Romolo “Cubby” Broccoli.

Broccoli’s life, as has been chronicled in various media, was not one of fast, or easy, success. He was a salesman of everything from Christmas trees to coffins. Eventually, he got into show business and began to have an impact as a producer after World War II in partnership with Irving Allen by making movies in the U.K.

As Bond fans know, that partnership would eventually dissolve and one major point of disagreement was Ian Fleming’s 007 series of novels, which Broccoli very much wanted to make and Allen didn’t. Allen later saw the error in his ways and eventually got into the 1960s spy game himself.

There’s a tendency to either elevate Broccoli to a kind of sainthood or trash him. He made his share of mistakes or questionable decisions, like passing over Julie Christie because of her breast size. On the other hand, he saved the title song for Diamonds Are Forever when then-partner Harry Saltzman wanted to junk it. And Broccoli’s instincts spurred the Goldfinger creative crew to take viewers inside Fort Knox, where Fleming’s novel did not.

The 47-year-old (and counting) Bond series of films that bears his name is the bottom line of his life’s work. In 1977, during an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show, (Roger Moore was the co-host) Broccoli correctly predicted Bond would be around long after “I’m gone.”

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