Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From the Tree…Day 39 of Bond 365

Robert Rietti (or Rietty)
Born this day in 1923
Voice of Emilio Largo in Thunderball, Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice and as the Casino Baccarat Official in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Robert Rietti had an incredible gift at memorization. It was a skill that his father, Vittorio, discovered when the young Rietti was only 8 years old. The elder Rietti ran an acting school at the time and his son join. Although very young, Rietti was a much sought after actor by David O. Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock. There were stringent laws about schooling requirements for child actors and Rietti was unable to accept roles that were being offered to him. However, his father found a way to work around the laws and hence Rietti already had 22 film credits before he was even 10 years old.

Robert Rietty
With the onset of World War II, Rietti’s world shattered when Italy joined with Germany.  Along with his father and brother, he was detained in a camp for eight months. He was released to organize a group of actors to entertain the troops. It was around this time, he changed the spelling of his last name to Rietty, to sound less Italian.

Over the years, Rietty performed in radio, television, stage, and film. He worked with Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Stewart Granger, and Gregory Peck. In all, he has 248 acting credits to his name over a span of over 80 years. He did not however stop at acting. He continued to act, but he shifted his focus to post-production, specifically through dialogue direction where he re-dubbed many voices, including the James Bond films. According to his IMDB profile, he was the only actor other than Sean Connery who acted in both Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Rietty was the voice of Emilio Largo and was the Italian Minister respectively.

In 2009, he wrote his autobiography A Forehead Pressed Against a Window with a foreword by legendary actor Christopher Lee, and in 2012, he received an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Florida.

Doug Robinson
Doug Robinson
Born this day in 1930
Stunts for multiple James Bond films

He came from a family of wrestlers and body-builders so it was probably not a huge surprise that Doug Robinson would become a stuntman in the movies, although he did do some acting as well. He acted in one Bond film as the “Thug at Stacy’s House” in A View to a Kill. However, what stands out is that he was part of the stunt team for 9 of the Bond films spanning the latter 1960s through the 1980s.

He and father Joseph worked together as stunt arrangers and together with Honor Blackman, co-authored Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence (1965, Andre Deutsch). In the book, Blackman shows how to get out of a variety of situations that a woman may find herself in while the father and son assisted as the goons.

Doug Robinson thrown down the stairs in A View to a Kill

Post Script: I'll be bringing the round of up news tomorrow, so please check back.

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