Joseph Wiseman, 1918-2009

Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No

Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No

We are saddened to report that Joseph Wiseman — Dr. No, the very first James Bond villain — passed away yesterday, October 19, in New York City. He was 91 years old.

Upon news of Mr. Wiseman’s death, HMSS senior editor James McMahon commented: “Joseph Wiseman holds a special place in [the] 007 pantheon as not just the first Bond villain, but still the best. His calm, almost robotic demeanor in the role lent the character an extra measure of menace, and seeming unassailability. A Caucasian playing an Asian is a tricky thing to pull off; so easy to over play and reduce to charicature. But Joseph Wiseman walked that line adroitly. I’ve never seen him in any role in which he wasn’t compelling, but for me, and most people too, I think, Doctor Julius No will always be his signature role.” The other HMSS editor’s take on Mr. Wiseman’s performance as the seminal James Bond villain can be found at or Villains Survey.

His obituary in the New York Times can be read here.

The publishers and editors of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant extend their sincere condolences to Mr. Wiseman’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

4 Responses

  1. […] in Peace, Joseph Wiseman Posted in October 20th, 2009 by Deborah Lipp in James Bond From HMSS, we learn that Joseph Wiseman, famed among Bond fans as the first Bond villain on film, Dr. No, has […]

  2. […] – Dr. No As has been noted by a number of my other COBRAS comrades (including new COBRAS member[s] The HMSS Weblog — more on this shortly), actor Joseph Wiseman, who played the titular character in […]

  3. I’m very certain you are inncorrect about Dr. No being Asian. I thought he was Eurasian, a German-Chinese mix. Wikipedia has only about a 3% error and it too states he was mixed Caucasian and Asian.

    I never read the book but if he was only Chinese and not mixed Chinese-German, my apologies.

  4. Wait it does look like he was raised in Asia so culturally he must have been Asian but racially from an outsider’s perspective he’s both Asian and Caucasian.

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