Barry Nelson, the very first actor to portray Ian Fleming's super spy James Bond on screen has passed away at the age of 89 according to a recent report in Variety. For years, if I wanted to wow someone with some trivia about a little known actor who played James Bond I'd whip a little info about George Lazenby on them. Lazenby played Bond once in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but Nelson's claim to fame was a 1954 made for TV adaptation of Fleming's novel Casino Royale, created as an episode of the anthology series Climax!. Interestingly, Nelson played Bond as an American, and pre-dated Sean Connery's first Bond film Dr. No by eight years. The Climax! version of Casino Royale is available as an extra on the DVD for the 1967 film of the same name.

Shortly after graduating from The University of California, Berkley in 1941, Nelson became a contract player for MGM. He appeared in several films including Shadow of the Thin Man and Dr. Kildare's Victory before joining the army during World War II. During the war he traveled as part of a stage production of Winged Victory which in 1944 was adapted into a film in which Nelson shared the screen with Red Buttons and TV's Superman George Reeves. In the post-war years Nelson made several more films including Undercover Maisie and Time to Kill before starring in such early television shows as The Ford Theatre Hour,The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre, and The Philco Television Playhouse. Personally, however, I will probably best remember Nelson for his role of Stuart Ullman in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
categories Cinematical