Website last updated: 8-12-2016

19 OCTOBER 2009
CANADIAN ACTOR JOSEPH WISEMAN (1918-2009)

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2009-10-20
Joseph Wiseman, the actor who played the villain in the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962), passed away at 91.

Joseph Wiseman, a longtime stage and screen actor most widely known for playing the villainous title character in “Dr. No,” the first feature film about James Bond, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

His daughter, Martha Graham Wiseman, confirmed the death, saying her father had recently been in declining health.

Released in 1962, “Dr. No” was the first in what proved to be a decades-long string of Bond movies. Starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress, the film featured Mr. Wiseman as Dr. Julius No, the sinister scientist who was Bond’s first big-screen adversary.

Wiseman’s other film credits include “Detective Story” (1951); “Viva Zapata!” (1952); “The Garment Jungle” (1957); “The Unforgiven” (1960); “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” (1968) and “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” (1974).

He had guest roles on many television shows, among them “Law & Order,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “The Untouchables” and “The Twilight Zone.” In the late 1980s, he had a recurring role as the crime boss Manny Weisbord on the NBC drama “Crime Story.”

On Broadway, Mr. Wiseman was seen most recently, in 2001, as a witness for the prosecution in Abby Mann’s stage adaptation of his film drama “Judgment at Nuremberg.” In 1994, he appeared Off Broadway in the Tony Kushner play “Slavs!” in the role of Prelapsarianov, “the world’s oldest living Bolshevik.”

Writing in The New York Times, Vincent Canby said Mr. Wiseman played Prelapsarianov “to frail perfection.”

Joseph Wiseman was born in Montreal on May 15, 1918, and moved to the United States with his family when he was a boy. His first Broadway role was in the company of “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” (1938). Among his many other Broadway credits are “Joan of Lorraine” (1946), “Antony and Cleopatra” (1947), “Detective Story” (1949); “The Lark” (1955) and the title role in “In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer” (1969).

Wiseman’s first marriage, to Nell Kinard, ended in divorce; his second wife, the choreographer Pearl Lang, died in February. In addition to his daughter, Martha, from his marriage to Ms. Kinard, Mr. Wiseman is survived by a sister, Ruth Wiseman.

Editor's note:
For more "Bond villains" featured on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
A signed portrait of Joseph Wiseman dedicated to Anders Frejdh, FSWL's founder. Photo by Blanche Mackey.

Read more about Joseph Wiseman's acting career on IMDB:
www.imdb.com/name/nm0936476/
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