Thursday, 19 June 2014

007 James Bond actor: Barry Nelson

WhoRobert Haakon Nielsen (alias Barry Nelson)
Born: 16 April 1917, San Francisco, California, USA
Died: 7 April 2007, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA

Barry Nelson was an American actor, noted as the first actor to portray Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond.

Barry Nelson trivia facts:
  • During production Nelson was unaware of the fact that the character of Bond was an Englishman. In an exclusive interview with Cinema Retro in 2004, he said “At that time, no one had ever heard of James Bond….I was scratching my head wondering how to play it. I hadn’t read the book or anything like that because it wasn’t well known. The worst part of it was that I learned it was to be done live. I thought I was finished with live t.v. I was trying to get out of it, actually"
  • Fleming's novel had only just been published in America six months before the TV production (it was first published on 13th April 1953 in the UK), and the screenplay was developed late on. “They were making changes up to the last minute. There was nothing you could do if anything went wrong”, Nelson said.
  • Whilst he enjoyed acting opposite Peter Lorre (Le Chiffre) and Linda Christian (Vesper Lynd), he was frustrated by the fact that time constraints had eliminated any background information about the character of Bond. Nelson recalled “I was very conscious of the fact that there wasn’t much to go on. It was too superficial.”

Barry Nelson´s 007 production:
Casino Royale (Climax!) (1954, The episode of TV anthology series)

James Bond: 1954

He was the first actor to play James Bond on screen, in a 1954 adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royale on the television anthology series Climax! (preceding Sean Connery's interpretation in Dr. No by eight years). Reportedly this was considered a pilot for a possible James Bond television series, though it's not known if Nelson intended to continue playing the character. Nelson played James Bond as an American agent whom some in the program call "Jimmy. In 2004, Nelson said, "At that time, no one had ever heard of James Bond ... I was scratching my head wondering how to play it. I hadn't read the book or anything like that because it wasn't well-known." Bond did not become well known in the U.S. until President John F. Kennedy listed From Russia, With Love among his ten favorite books in a 17 March 1961 Life Magazine article.

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