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).

Nikki van der Zyl, voice of Bond women, dies

Nikki van der Zyl (1935-2021)

Nikki van der Zyl, a German-born actress who provided the voice for various Bond women characters, has died at 85, Her death was disclosed on Twitter by The Bond Bulletin.

Van der Zyl was used to dub over, among others, Ursula Andress in Dr. No, Eunice Gayson in Dr. No and From Russia With Love, Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger and Claudine Auger in Thunderball. She worked on various Bond films through Moonraker.

In addition, van der Zyl acted as a dialogue coach for Gert Frobe (who ended up dubbed by Michael Collins) in Goldfinger.

Being a voice actor “is technically exacting work,” van der Zyl said in a 2015 story in The Independent. “The art of such acting is often much overlooked. You have to have to pay attention to the physical appearance of the person to ensure the character has an appropriate voice and actors speak with a blend of dialects, making it quite a challenge matching your speech to their lip movements.”

In a 2015 interview with James Bond Radio, van der Zyl said Goldfinger was her favorite Bond film because she was on the set and present throughout the film because of working with Frobe. “I feel more close to that film than the others.”

Here is the James Bond Radio interview. Van der Zyl appears beginning around the 13:25 mark.

And here is a 2013 video in The New York Times Magazine showing van der Zyl reading some of the same lines she spoke in Dr. No.

Robert Rietti, 007 voiceover artist, dies at 92

Emilo Largo (Adolfo Celi) was dubbed over by Robert Rietti

When Largo appeared in Thunderball, American audiences saw Adolfo Celi’s face but heard Robert Rietti’s voice.

Robert Rietti, an actor who dubbed over a number of characters in James Bond films, died earlier this month at 92, according to obituaries in THE TIMES OF LONDON and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Rietti’s participation in 007 films went all the way back to the first, 1962’s Dr. No. He dubbed over Timothy Moxon’s lines as Strangways, the doomed head of the Kingston station of British intelligence.

Rietti also dubbed over Adolfo Celi’s Emilo Largo in Thunderball, Testuro Tamba’s Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice and a bald villain intended to evoke Ernst Stavo Blofeld (but who officially wasn’t the SPECTRE chief because of rights disputes) in For Your Eyes Only. Thus, it was Rietty who uttered the line, “I’ll buy you a delicatessen in stainless steel!”

With Thunderball, American audiences heard the real voices of Celi and Claudine Auger as Domino in a that clip that was part of the television special The Incredible World of James Bond, which aired in November 1965. But they heard Rietti’s voice paired with Nikki Van der Zyl’s the next month when Thunderball arrived in theaters.

Van der Zyl was even more of a 007 veteran at that point, doing voice work on the three previous 007 films, including dubbing over Ursula Andress in Dr. No.

You can CLICK HERE to view Rietti’s IMDB.com bio (where his name is spelled Rietty), which lists 256 acting credits.