2021’s spy entertainment “In Memoriam”

As 2021 draws to a close, here’s a look at those who contributed to spy entertainment (or at least spy-related). These are not listed in any particular order.

Cicely Tyson (1924-2021), actress: Distinguished actress. Her many credits included appearances on I Spy and Mission: Impossible.

Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021), songwriter: Bricusse had a varied career that included collaborating with the likes of John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini among others.

In the 1960s, he worked with Barry on Goldfinger, Thunderball (the “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” song that wasn’t used but figured into the score) and You Only Live Twice. He worked with Goldsmith on “Your ZOWIE Face” from In Like Flint.

Nikki van der Zyl (1935-2021), voice artist: She voiced over Ursula Andress and other actresses during the run of Eon Productions’ James Bond film series. Eon also called upon her services to dub Anita Ekberg in Call Me Bwana, the comedy Eon made in-between Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Yaphet Kotto (1939-2021), actor: He played Dr. Kananga, the villain in the film version of Live And Let Die. Kotto had a long career. He became an actor in the dying days of “old Hollywood.” One of his early films was Five Card Stud, a Dean Martin-Robert Mitchum western produced by Hal B. Wallis who had produced Casablanca.

William P. Cartlidge (1942-2021), production staff: Cartlidge worked on three James Bond movies directed by Lewis Gilbert — You Only Live Twice (as assistant director), The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker (as associate producer).

Jack Turley (1927-2021), writer: American television writer whose work included episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The FBI.

Arthur Weingarten (1935-2021), writer/producer: He penned episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Later, he had the title of executive story consultant for the final season of The FBI and wrote an episode for that show. He later became a producer of U.S. television shows.

Peter Mark Richman (1927-2021), actor: Veteran character actor who often played villains. His many credits included appearances on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., It Takes a Thief, and Mission: Impossible. He also starred in spy-fi curiosity Agent From H.A.R.M.

Tanya Roberts (1955-2021), actress: She played Stacey Sutton, the lead female character in A View to a Kill. She previously had been in Charlie’s Angels.

Tommy Lane (1936-2021), actor/stuntman: Lane played Adam, one of Dr. Kananga’s henchmen in Live And Let Die. In a movie full of colorful characters, he still made an impact. In the movie’s boat chase, Adam has a faster boat than Bond (Roger Moore). That forces Bond to improvise.

Jessica Walter (1941-2021), actress: Walter enjoyed a long career. That included two episodes of The FBI where her characters were part of espionage rings.

Edward Asner (1929-2021), actor: Veteran actor who played the gruff Lou Grant in two series (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant). He also played villains on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild Wild West.

Neil Connery (1938-2021), actor: The younger brother of Sean Connery was cast in the lead of a Bond takeoff titled Operation Kid Brother or OK Connery depending on which version you saw. The movie featured other actors (Adolfo Celi, Daniela Bianchi, Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell) who had appeared in Eon’s 007 film series. The movie was even released by United Artists. In the movie, Neil Connery plays “Dr. Neil Connery.” He uses hypnotism as if it were a superpower.

Frank McRae (1941-2021), actor: The one-time football player transitioned to acting. His roles included Sharkey, the likable “sacrificial lamb” in 1989’s Licence to Kill.

Richard Donner (1930-2021), director: Donner is best known for directing the 1978 Superman film with Christopher Reeve and the Lethal Weapon series of movies. In the 1960s, working in television, he directed episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West and Get Smart. In the 1980s, Donner was offered Never Say Never Again but turned it down.

John Pearson (1930-2021), writer: Pearson wrote on various subjects, including a 1966 biography of Ian Fleming. Pearson had worked with Fleming at The Sunday Times.

Charles “Jerry” Juroe (1923-2021), publicist: Juroe’s long career included stints as a publicist at United Artists and Eon Productions. He published a book about his career in 2018.

Al Harrington (1935-2021), actor: Harrington was a cast member of the original Hawaii Five-O series during the show’s fifth through seventh seasons.

Frank Jacobs (1929-2021), writer: Jacobs wrote many parodies for Mad magazine. In 1965, he penned a satiric version of a James Bond musical. The songs were sung to the tune of songs from Oklahoma!

Michael Apted (1941-2021), director: Apted was known for directing dramas as well as working on the 7-Up series of documentaries. His selection to direct The World Is Not Enough (1999) was seen as unusual.

Helen McCrory (1968-2021), actress: English stage and film actress, she had a key role in Skyfall (2012).

6 Responses

  1. Thanks for this very thorough list. I like the Man From Uncle references and of course take note of the Bond actors, including two famous leads Yaphet Kotto and Tanya Roberts and strong supporting players in Adam Lane, Frank McRae and Helen McCrory, and of course the famous Bond Girl voice actor Nikki van der Zyl. She was such a massive vocal presence in the classic Connery films.
    John Pearson’s JB Authorized Biography, I think is by far the most readable and interesting of the Fleming continuation novels, and ideally should have served as canon for future Bond efforts including the Young Bond stories. At least Raymond Benson gave Gardner his due.

  2. I’ll especially miss Richard Donner. Whenever there was an episode that I really liked, his name was on the credit!

  3. After watching No Time To Die, you might as well list the James Bond film series. What a dismal, boring, atrocity. The good news is, at least I can watch what this series used to be at home on Blu Ray.

  4. To Ricardo above. That is in fact the sad truth. Barbara and Michael have destroyed my life long interest in the film series, or more to the point I have no interest in where they might take the series from here. They have broken trust. Anywhere they go from here is stained by the abomination that was the ending to the latest offering. The Bond film series does indeed need to be added to the in memoriam.
    Barbara and Michael both need to step aside. The whole Craig basket of films is tainted by that ending, but yes we do at least have the original run of 20 films to enjoy over and over. And nothing beats the classic ’60s films!
    All 6 of them!

  5. @ timmer

    Just like the atrocious Last Jedi, a franchise picture is once again openly declaring it’s contempt for it’s own intellectual property. Cubby Broccoli always tweaked Bond for the times but he never, EVER would have made Bond a depressed, broken down, tired alcoholic who constantly needed someone else’s assistance and was consistently outclassed by his female colleagues. At this point, I don’t care who will be the next Bond because I am not watching the next film unless it goes against the #MeToo grain.

  6. With Craig Bond’s ultimate destiny to be poisoned, shot-up and blown to bits, body parts ignominiously scattered across the Sea of Japan, it now renders all the Craig films as unwatchable.
    Barbara and Michael have destroyed the Bond mystique. Bond is dead! They have killed the film series. I have no interest or even curiosity as to where they might take the series next. None. I saw NTTD once and goodbye.
    Meanwhile I saw Spectre 7x in theatre and several more times on the bluray I purchased, but NTTD is a one and done.
    What kind of loon makes a film that leaves scores of film fans exiting the theatre angry?
    Barbara and Michael please sell the film rights!

    In memoriam 2021: The Bond Eon film series.
    Dead and not salvageable.

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