John Gavin, actor and ambassador, dies

John Gavin (1931-2018) in a publicity still

John Gavin, an actor and one-time U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has died at 86, TMZ reported. 

The American-born actor’s career began in the mid-1950s and lasted through the early 1980s. His most famous role, arguably, was Sam Loomis, the boyfriend of the doomed Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Gavin also was signed to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. The casting came at a time that Eon Productions was looking to Americanize 007. The production originally was to have been based at Universal Studios in Southern California.

All that vaporized when United Artists executive David Picker insisted on making a run at getting the original film 007, Sean Connery, to return for a one-off. Connery agreed, receiving more than $1 million (which he donated to a trust he started).

The Scotsman did the film and Gavin’s contract was paid off. Pinewood Studios in the U.K. was again the home base for a Bond film, although the project did extensive U.S. filming because much of the story was set in Las Vegas.

Other notable Gavin film parts included Julius Caesar in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus; agent OSS 117 in OSS 117 Murder for Sale; and Midnight Lace. On television, he appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Mannix and Kraft Suspense Theater.

His acting career ended in 1981 when then-President (and former actor) Ronald Reagan named Gavin U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He resigned in 1986 to return to private life.

Director William Friedkin, who helmed The French Connection, paid Gavin a tribute on Twitter:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

One Response

  1. Reblogged this on Colonel Assignment – and thoughts about writings and the world.

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