What if Godfrey Cambridge had played Fleming’s Mr. Big?

The 1973 James Bond film Live And Let Die is noteworthy because it was Roger Moore’s first 007 film and sported a catchy title song written and performed by Paul McCartney.

But it’s far from a faithful adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel. In fact, bits from the namesake novel wouldn’t be used until 1981’s For Your Eyes Only and 1989’s Licence to Kill And the talented Yaphet Kotto doesn’t play Ian Fleming’s Mr. Big. He’s really playing the Dr. Kananga of screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz.

So what would a film version of Fleming’s Mr. Big looked like? Well, we can look to the late Robert Culp, who wrote and directed a first-season episode of I Spy that featured an Oxford-educated Zulu who’s dealing industrial diamonds and stolen radioactive isotopes with Communist China. That villain was played by Godfrey Cambridge, who comes across as quite Flemingesque.

To see what we mean, you can go to Hulu.com or CLICK HERE to watch the episode. Or you can CLICK HERE. Cambridge doesn’t show up until the second half of the episode but he’s quite memorable. Cambridge died in 1976 while playing Idi Amin in a television production about the Israeli raid on Entebbe. His replacement? Julius W. Harris, who played Tee Hee in Live And Let Die.

One Response

  1. Godfrey Cambridge is also quite excellent in the James Coburn quasi spy thriller, The President’s Analyst …but yeah, he would have made a great Mr. Big.

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