Richard Johnson, would be 007, dies

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Veteran actor Richard Johnson, a potential screen James Bond, died over the weekend.

How close Johnson, who was 87 when he died, to snagging the role isn’t clear.

Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, in his autobiography, acknowledged Johnson was in the conversation. But the co-founder of Eon Productions, makes it sound as if Johnson wasn’t that close.

(Dr. No director) Terence Young had been promoting the idea of getting that polished British actor Richard Johnson to play Bond. It was a valid idea, but we thought (Sean) Connery was a much more exciting proposition. We called Terence in to hell him.

When the Snow Melts, page 169-170

On the other hand, an obituary by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES) carries a different account.

(Johnson) told Cinema Retro magazine in 2009 that he declined the role and that he felt Sean Connery, who got the part and went on to play it in seven films, was miscast — but that the casting turned out to be perfect, “because it turned the thing on its head and he made it funny.”

Whatever the truth, Johnson did get his turn in the 1960s spy boom. The character of Bulldog Drummond was dusted off and turned into a series of spy films with Johnson as Drummond.

For more information, you can CLICK HERE for a post at Cinema Retro’s website. You can also CLICK HERE for an obit at The Telegraph.

UPDATE: The Double O Section blog HAS A POST that details Johnson’s other spy roles.

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One Response

  1. the late Richard Johnson has Appeard with some legendary hollywood
    stars. during his Lengthy career, I recently remembered on hearing his death, that he co-starred in a classic movie i have in my dvd collection titled ‘never so few’ (1959) made the same year i was born.
    joined with a star studded cast, frank sinatra ‘ ‘steve mcqueen’ charles bronson and many more.

    I also remember seeing richard in a charlton Heston classic ‘kaurtum’
    a 60s era movie. he’s made a few other movies with Heston.

    however I dont think he would’ve made a great bond, reason’s being
    the movie producers were looking for someone who looked rugged
    but also appealing to woman, what people might not realize albert cubby broccoli never had the final say who should be bond. it was
    his wife dana. and harry saltzman’s wife that picked sean connery
    and director terence young liked how he moved.
    the late richard johnson great film/tv actor r.i.p.

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