Sunday, March 1, 2015

Finding Plenty with Wood, Bardem and Culver…Day 60 of Bond 365

Happy Sunday evening! It has been a jammed packed weekend for me – how about you? I was attending the Long Beach Comic Expo in which I had my freelance journalist hat on for most of the day Saturday before changing up and moderating a film screening of the recently released documentary She Makes Comics. I wish that more people would have stuck around and attended the early evening panel, however the Q&A session was worthwhile with the director, producer and one of the interviewees as panel experts. 

Today, I attended one panel that discussed how pre-order work and why it is so important for the comic book industry. Then, I was back on the floor networking and getting some autographs on comics in my collection. Now, onto Day 60!

Lana Wood

Lana Wood
Born this day in 1946
Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever

She was born Svetlana Nikolaevna Gurdin but later changed her name to Lana Wood and is the younger sister of Natalie Wood. Lana would inevitably feel a draw towards acting. Her first onscreen debut was in The Searchers (1956) starring John Wayne and her sister. Lana played a younger version of Natalie in the John Ford western. 

While Natalie was a pursuing a film career, Lana forged her own career by securing several roles on the small screen. After a Playboy spread in 1971 that Albert Broccoli saw, Lana was offered the role of Plenty O’Toole opposite Sean Connery. She continued to act through the rest of the decade, but tragedy struck in 1981 when her sister drowned by mysterious circumstances, which was reopened a couple of years ago.

A couple of her scenes from Diamonds are Forever were added back into the DVD version, which provides the back story as to why she had been found drowned in the pool. Additionally, Lana is only 5’ 2” and apparently, she had to stand on a box to be tall enough when standing next to Connery, who is over a foot taller than her!

I met Lana Wood at the Hollywood Collectors Show’s last Bond reunion a couple of years ago. She was quite sweet and friendly. She signed my big book of The James Bond Archives (published by Taschen), and I did not know at the time what an animal lover she was otherwise I’m sure we would have spent several minutes talking about our respective furry “kids.”

Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem
Born this day in 1969
Silva in Skyfall

Javier Bardem has almost one hundred acting awards in a career that began in 1974 when he was 5 or 6 years only. He is a chameleon that seems to change from film to film and he does it quite well, if you remember one particular scene in Skyfall. His success should not be all that surprising because acting runs deep in his blood – his family is intimately tied to the history of Spanish cinema. He is one of two Academy Award winners to play the main Bond villain; Christopher Walken is the other (A View to a Kill). Now, I have only seen a trio of Bardem’s films – No Country for Old Men, Skyfall, The Counselor – but I would like to correct that in the coming months. 

Roland Culver
Roland Culver
Passed away this day in 1984
Foreign Secretary in Thunderball

Like many of the people I have featured in Bond 365, Roland Culver was part of the first sound films of the 1930s, however he began on stage in 1924 at the Hull Repertory Theatre in northern England where he debuted as Paul in Peter and Paul. His film and television series work spanned 50+ years in over 100 roles. Interestingly, he trained and served as a pilot while in the Royal Air Force from 1918 to 1919. And, if acting hadn’t worked out so well, Culver would have a made a go as a professional golfer.

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