David Hedison, the US actor best known for playing Felix Leiter opposite two James Bonds, has died at the age of 92.
He first played 007’s CIA ally in 1973’s Live and Let Die, the late Sir Roger Moore’s first Bond film.
He returned to the role 16 years later to appear alongside Timothy Dalton in 1989’s Licence to Kill.
He was also turned into an insect in the 1958 film The Fly and starred in 1960s submarine TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
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.
When Hedison returned to the world of James Bond for Licence To Kill, his character survived being fed to a shark by a drug lord who also murdered his new bride.
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.
Several actors have played Felix Leiter in the Bond film series, beginning with Jack Lord in 1962’s Dr No. Jeffrey Wright, who has played the role since 2006’s Casino Royale, is set to return in 007’s next big-screen outing.
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