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June 27, 2003 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-27

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No Jewish actor has ever played James
Bond, with one very odd exception.
Woody Allen, of all people, played
James Bond in the comedic, but
"authorized," version of Fleming's Bond
novel Casino Royale (1967).
Every agent in the film was called
"James Bond" to confuse the enemy.
Allen plays agent "Jimmy Bond" and is
unmasked at the end of the film as a
traitor who is also the evil "Dr. Noah."
A number of Jewish actors have
played Bond villains.
Joseph Wiseman, now 85, played "Dr.
No." Wiseman has had a very distin-
guished film and stage career, including
playing many Jewish parts. He was hon-
ored with a National Foundation for
Jewish Culture Lifetime Achievement
Award in 1998.
Yaphet Kotto, who played the nasty
"Kananga/Mr. Big" in Live and Let Die
(1973), has an exotic Jewish back-
ground.
His African father converted to
Judaism while living in West Africa and
later moved to New York. Kotto, who is
best known for his role as the police
commander on TV's Homicide, keeps
kosher and does not work on the High
Holidays.
English Jewish actor and playwright
Steven Berkoff, now 64, appeared as the
dastardly Russian General Orlov in
1983's Octopussy. Berkoff has had a
prominent career in the British theater.
The roll call of Jewish actors who
played Bond villains ends with magi-
cian/actor Ricky Jay, now 55, who
played "Henry Gupta," an American
computer techno-terrorist in 1997's
Tomorrow Never Knows. Jay has long
been known as one of the top magicians
in the business.
However, honorable mention should
be given to the late singer/actress Lotte
Lenya, who played the unforgettable
"Rosa Klebb" in Goldfinger (1964).
Klebb tried to finish off Bond by using a
poisoned, spiked shoe that killed its vic-
tim "in 12 seconds." The shoe will be on
exhibit in Dearborn.
("Rosa Klebb" was clearly the model
for the character "Frau Farbissina" in the
Austin Powers spy-spoof films. Jewish
actress Mindy Sterling plays the
Farbissina character.)
Lenya, who was not Jewish, was one

of the most acclaimed actresses of the
German theater world until she fled
Nazi Germany with her husband, the
great German Jewish composer Kurt
Weill. He is most famous for his music
for The Threepenny Opera and the song,
"Mack the Knife."
On the other hand, two Jewish actors
have played "Bond allies."
Israeli actor Topol, best known for
portraying Tevye in the film version of
Fiddler on the Roof, played Bond friend
"Colombo" in For Your Eyes Only
(1981).
Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbe played
Gen. Georgi Koskov, a Russian who is
defecting with Bond's help, in The
Living Daylights (1987). Krabbe (pro-
nounced "Yaroon Krabbay"), 58, is
Jewish on his mother's side and wrote
and directed the Holocaust-themed film

Lost Luggage (1997).
Now for the best part — in the eyes
of many: the "Bond Girls."
Jill St. John, a beautiful redhead who
turned many heads, played "Tiffany
Case" in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever.
St. John was born in 1940 as Jill
Oppenheim and has never made any
secret of the fact that she is Jewish. She
is now married to actor Robert Wagner.
Quickly following in St. John's pretty
footsteps was Jane Seymour, who played
"Solitaire" in 1973's Live and Let Die.
Seymour, 52, was born Joyce
Frankenberg and is Jewish on her father's
side. She went on to fame as Dr. Quinn:
Medicine Woman.
Seymour was followed by Barbara
Bach, who played "Major Anya
Amasova" in 1977's The Spy Who Loved
Me. Bach was born in 1947 as Barbara
Goldbach to a Jewish father and a non-
Jewish mother. She is now married to
former Beatle Ringo Starr.
Last, but not least, is Tanya
Roberts, 47, who played "Stacy
Sutton" in 1987's A View to a Kill.
Roberts, who is Jewish on her moth-
er's side, has been married to Jewish
writer Barry Roberts since 1974.
Most recently, she was a regular on
TV's That '70s Show. [1]

"Bond. James Bond" runs June
28-Dec. 31 at the Henry Ford
Museum in Dearborn. Timed
tickets are $7 (general museum
admission also required) and can
be purchased at
www.TheHenryFord.org or by
calling (313) 982-6001. Museum
admission ranges from $8.50-
$13.50.

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