David Hedison, best known for starring in two James Bond movies as CIA operative Felix Leiter, died July 18 at age 92, his press representative, Jennifer Allen, confirmed Monday.
Hedison starred as Leiter in 1973’s “Live and Let Die” opposite Roger Moore, and returned to the role in 1989 with Timothy Dalton as James Bond in “License to Kill.”
The actor played scientist Andre Delambre, who turned into an insect in the 1958 film “The Fly.”
In the mid-60s, Hedison rose to prominence playing the captain of a futuristic nuclear submarine in Irwin Allen’s mid-‘60s sci-fi series, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” In the program, he played square-jawed Lee Crane, who teamed with Richard Basehart’s Admiral Nelson to command the Seaview for four seasons on ABC.
We are very sorry to learn that David Hedison has passed away. David played Felix Leiter in LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) opposite Sir Roger Moore, he returned to the role in 1989 with Timothy Dalton as James Bond, in LICENCE TO KILL. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/G9cyRCvQNM— James Bond (@007) July 22, 2019
Hedison died with his two daughters, Alexandra and Serena, at his side. They described him as a ”wonderful father” and a loving best friend to his wife Bridget, who died in 2016,
”Even in our deep sadness, we are comforted by the memory of our wonderful father,” the daughters said in a statement. “He loved us all dearly and expressed that love every day. He was adored by so many, all of whom benefited from his warm and generous heart. Our dad brought joy and humor wherever he went and did so with great style.”
The official James Bond Twitter account paid condolences to the Providence, Rhode Island, native Monday.
”We are sorry to learn that David Hedison has passed away,” the Twitter account stated, adding, “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
After filming “Live and Let Die,” Hedison said he figured his Bond work was done. But more than a decade later he had a chance run-in with Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli at a London restaurant.
”And what do you know? Sixteen years later I’m called in to do another Bond which happened by accident,” Hedison said in a 2012 interview. ”We said hello and maybe a light bulb went off in his head. Sure enough my agent called me, and we were off and running.”
The screen friendship continued with Dalton’s Bond in “Licence to Kill,” with 007 appearing as best man at Leiter’s wedding in Florida. The celebration is cut short when Leiter’s wife is murdered and he’s kidnapped by drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi).
Leiter is left for dead after Sanchez lowers him into a shark pit (with the final shout “See you in hell!”), which leads Bond to go on a vengeful rampage.
Jeffrey Wright, who has played Felix Leiter alongside 007 Daniel Craig, paid respects on Twitter.
”RIP, brother. 92,” he wrote. “Nice run.”
His daughters noted in their statement that Hedison would joke, even in his final days, that instead of RIP he preferred SRO: “Standing Room Only.”
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