David Hedison, best known for starring in two James Bond movies as CIA operative Felix Leiter, died July 18 at age 92, his press representative, Jennifer Allen, confirmed on Monday.
In a statement released by his family on Monday evening, it was revealed that he died on July 18.
Hedison died with his two daughters, Alexandra and Serena, at his side. They described him as a “wonderful father” and a loving best friend to his wife Bridget, who died in 2016,
“Even in our deep sadness, we are comforted by the memory of our wonderful father,” the daughters said in a statement. “He loved us all dearly and expressed that love every day. He was adored by so many, all of whom benefited from his warm and generous heart. Our dad brought joy and humor wherever he went and did so with great style.”
The official James Bond Twitter account paid condolences to the Providence, Rhode Island, native Monday.
“We are sorry to learn that David Hedison has passed away,” the Twitter account stated, adding, “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
We are very sorry to learn that David Hedison has passed away. David played Felix Leiter in LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) opposite Sir Roger Moore, he returned to the role in 1989 with Timothy Dalton as James Bond, in LICENCE TO KILL. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/G9cyRCvQNM
— James Bond (@007) July 22, 2019
Hedison starred as Leiter in 1973’s “Live and Let Die” opposite Roger Moore, and returned to the role in 1989 with Timothy Dalton as James Bond in “License to Kill.”
The actor played scientist Andre Delambre, who turned into an insect in the 1958 film “The Fly.”
Today in 1973, LIVE AND LET DIE had its world premiere at London’s Odeon Leicester Square. Roger Moore’s 007 debut film, it was the first Bond film set in a fictional locale — San Monique. pic.twitter.com/18R5bwYYdJ
— James Bond (@007) July 5, 2019
In the mid-60s, Hedison rose to prominence playing the captain of a futuristic nuclear submarine in Irwin Allen’s mid-‘60s sci-fi series, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” In the program, he played square-jawed Lee Crane, who teamed with Richard Basehart’s Admiral Nelson to command the Seaview for four seasons on ABC.
Seven years after Live and Let Die, he appeared with Sir Roger again in the 1980 oil rig drama North Sea Hijack. The friends were reunited once more in 2007 when Hedison delivered a speech at the unveiling of Sir Roger’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After filming “Live and Let Die,” Hedison said he figured his Bond work was done. But more than a decade later he had a chance run-in with Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli at a London restaurant.
“And what do you know? Sixteen years later I’m called in to do another Bond which happened by accident,” Hedison said in a 2012 interview. “We said hello and maybe a light bulb went off in his head. Sure enough my agent called me, and we were off and running.”
The screen friendship continued with Dalton’s Bond in “Licence to Kill,” with 007 appearing as best man at Leiter’s wedding in Florida. The celebration is cut short when Leiter’s wife is murdered and he’s kidnapped by drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi)
RIP, brother. 92 – nice run. https://t.co/3C0a0hmG4J
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) July 22, 2019
Leiter is left for dead after Sanchez lowers him into a shark pit (with the final shout “See you in hell!”), which leads Bond to go on a vengeful rampage.
Leiter alongside 007 Daniel Craig, paid respects on Twitter.
“RIP, brother. 92,” he wrote. “Nice run.”
His many other credits included The Colbys, The Love Boat, The Fall Guy and Dynasty.
Hedison was sanguine about his career, admitting that most films he had appeared in were “pictures you never want to see again”.
He once remarked: “When I know they’ll be on TV I have a dinner party and invite my friends over so they can’t see them.”
Hedison’s death was announced by his daughters Alexandra and Serena, who paid tribute to his “warm and generous heart”.
“Our dad brought joy and humour wherever he went and did so with great style,” they said.
His daughters noted in their statement that Hedison would joke, even in his final days, that instead of RIP he preferred SRO: “Standing Room Only.”
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