Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Early Bond Alums: Ferzetti, Gayson and Mellinger….Day 76 of Bond 365

Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you are one to celebrate. Whether you are toasting with a green beer or having a laid back evening, thank you for stopping by and checking to see what Day 76 has in store for you!

Garbiele Ferzetti, Wikipedia

Gabriele Ferzetti
Born this day in 1925
Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (note: his voice was dubbed by David de Keyser)

Italian Gabriele Ferzetti (such a great name!) began acting in the 1942 Via delle cinque lune. He made a name for himself in the 1950s and 1960s. His first leading role was in Lo Zappatore (1950) and then he became internationally known from Michaelangelo Antonioni’s  L’Avventura (1960). I have to say, he was quite an attractive fellow in the day, so it’s no surprise that he moved into roles where his elegance shined.

As I was researching Ferzetti, it was only today that I made the connection that he was Morton the railroad baron in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West; seriously not sure how I missed that before! It was definitely a face palm moment for me. And interestingly, Ferzetti is only 13 years older than Dame Diana Rigg yet in OHMSS he played her father. I wonder if that was at all weird?

Ferzetti, from On Her Majesty's Secret Service - nice suit!

His most recent role was in 2010 as Enrico in 18 Years Later. At present, he has 167 acting credits to his name in which most are Italian productions, but he does appear in some US and UK productions as well.

By the way, if you liked Ferzetti’s suits in OHMSS and/or have an interest in men’s fashion, take a look at the blog The Suits of James 007 written by Matt Spaiser. Spaiser wrote a blog on Draco’s suits on 22 December 2014 that is worth a read.

Eunice Gayson
Eunice Gayson
Born this day in 1928
Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia With Love

Eunice Gayson was born Euince Sargalson in the south of London (Croydon). She has the distinction of being James Bond’s girlfriend in Dr. No and From Russia With Love as well as being the first Bond Girl. Her first line in the London club led right into James Bond’s signature line: Bond. James Bond. She was supposed to be cast as Miss Moneypenny, which went to Lois Maxwell, however Sylvia was going to be a recurring character as well. Not sure that would have worked out well – Bond always traveling and making love to many women – yeah, Bond was meant to be single.

In reading the Wikipedia entry for Gayson, something stuck out to me. Gayson’s voice was dubbed by Nikki van der Zyl and apparently most of the actresses in the first two films had been dubbed. I can understand if the actress had a thick accent, but I would not think that nearly all of them needed to be dubbed?! Anyway, Gayson’s voice was not dubbed in the original trailers.

I picked up Gayson’s book, The First Lady of Bond: My Autobiography, that came out in 2012. I think I got it through Bond Stars when they were offering to have Gayson personalize her books. I did that offer and then a couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Gayson in person at a Hollywood Collector’s Show in Los Angeles. She was elegant and engaging and it was such an honor to meet the first Bond Girl!

Michael Mellinger
Passed away in 2004
Kisch in Goldfinger

Michael Mellinger was born in Bavaria back in 1929. He went to boarding school to England. He studied as a radio engineer and was going to join the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, but was detained as an enemy alien. He was held at Kempton Park and then sent to Australia for internment. Once he was released, he joined the British Army.

Michael Mellinger
He apparently was passionate about the theatre and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Besides working in film and television where he had 99 acting credits, he also worked in the theatre and on radio. He originally got his broadcast acting start in a UK television movie titled Larry the Lamb (1947). He worked up until his death with his last credit as Albert in Das Apfelbaumhaus, released in 2004.

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