Friday, April 24, 2015

The Long and Short of Blake and North….Day 114 of Bond 365

My weekend is well-earned this week. There has been several projects at my work that then putting in another two to three hours in the evening has been a struggle. Yet, here is Friday evening and after a long week, it is good to settle in for the evening. The prospect of rain is in the air; I hope we get some since SoCal is woefully hurting for water. While waiting for the rain, today in Bond history there are two actors spotlighted below. Larry J Blake had a lengthly acting career that spanned over forty years. In contract, Virginia North's career was quit short: four years with only a handful of appearances. 

Larry J Blake
Born this day in 1914
Water Balloon Gamer Barker-Operator in Diamonds Are Forever

Larry Blake got his start in acting as Chief FBI Agent Wheeler in Secret Agent X-9 in 1937 after he signed a contract with Universal Studios. The same year, he was given a feature role in The Road Back. He had steady work however he joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. However, he was rotated out and was treated for alcoholism. When he returned to acting, he helped start an A.A. group for people working in the pictures.

Blake was able to pick up with his career after World War II. In the 1950s, he would become known for his art in Sunset Boulevard and High Noon. He was also working in television and he found plenty of work in the various genres that were popular at the time. His last role was in the Malcolm McDowell Time After Time (1979) after which he had to retire due to emphysema. By his retirement, he had over 250 acting credits to his name.

Virginia North
Born this day in 1946
Olympe in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Her father was in the U.S. Army so in Virginia North’s formative years, she lived in Europe and Asia where her father was posted. She began working with a London agency where she began modeling swimwear. In 1967, she was cast in her first role in the Bulldog Drummond film Deadlier Than the Male. Then she was cast in Yul Brynner’s The Long Duel the same year.

After a two-year hiatus, North was Robert Number Nine in her second Bulldog Drummond film Some Girls Do. And of course, she was cast as Olympe in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Also the same year, she made a guest appearance on the television show Department S (1969).

In 1971, she returned to the big screen as Vulnavia, opposite Vincent Price in the dark comedy/horror film The Abominable Dr. Phibes. While I have not seen the movie, apparently her skills as a model came in handy as she was supposed to remain impassive and distant. It was her only role that year and it turned out to be her last as in 1974, she married Gordon White, one of the richest men at that time in the UK.

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