Don Griffin, designer of Wet Nellie, dies

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

Don Griffin, who helped design and pilot “Wet Nellie,” the underwater car in The Spy Who Loved Me, died last month at age 87, according to THIS OBITUARY

Here’s an excerpt:

Don’s tour of life is leading him to his next adventure. He was a man of many interests and talents. From his early days as a Navy Frogman to an instructor for UDT(Seal) till he continued on with his service at Perry Oceanographic (later Lockheed Martin). At that time he helped to design and Pilot the Lotus submarine in the movie ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. He loved photography especially underwater photography and was nicknamed ‘Frogtographer’.

Wet Nellie’s exploits were one of the highlights of 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, the first 007 film after the breakup between Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.

As portrayed in the film, Bond drives a Lotus car with Russian Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) accompanying him. When the Lotus comes under attack, Bond drives the car off a dock after which it converts into a submarine. In reality, a number of vehicles were used. Regardless, audiences got a blast of watching Wet Nellie in operation.

Here’s how The Independent newspaper described the car (and Griffin’s contribution to its operation) in a 2013 story:

The vehicle was developed from one of six Esprit body shells used during the making of The Spy Who Loved Me. The Lotus was driven by retired Navy Seal Don Griffin, who operated it using motorized propellers while manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms.

The version of Wet Nellie that actually traveled underwater was acquired at auction by billionaire Elon Musk.

A shoutout to Doug Redenius, who posted about Griffin’s death on Facebook.

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Amy Pascal steps down at Sony

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Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is leaving the studio to be a producer at the studio, THE HUFFINGTON POST REPORTED, citing a Sony statement.

Pascal will take her new position in May, the website reported.

Confidential e-mails by Pascal and other documents — including a draft of the script of SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film — were made public last year by hackers. Some of the emails included Pascal making critical comments of actors and racially insensitive remarks about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Sony has released 007 films since 2006’s Casino Royale. Pascal has worked closely with Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, and has been viewed as an ally of Barbara Broccoli, Eon’s co-boss.

In some of the hacked emails, Pascal sides with Broccoli about SPECTRE’s $300 million-plus budget, the CNN/Money website reported last year. Separately, the Daily Beast last year reported that Pascal suggested Idris Elba be the next Bond after Daniel Craig.

Sony’s contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release Bond movies ends with SPECTRE.

UPDATE: The announcement confirmed a DAILY MAIL STORY that was posted earlier today.