Website last updated: 12-7-2024

Steven Jay Rubin remember Bernard Lee on the day of his birth

By: Steven Jay Rubin
Bernard Lee M James Bond films
The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia presents This Day in James Bond Movie History - remembering Bernard Lee on the anniversary of his birth in 1908. Lee (1908-1981) portrayed James Bond’s boss “M” in the first eleven 007 adventures. The mission briefing in his London office became a standard feature in the films, along with Bond’s repartee with M’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny and Q’s equipment briefing.

Bernard Lee, whose career dates back to him being carried on the London stage as a baby, brought a great deal of gravitas to the role of the MI6 chief who essentially sends the 00s on possible suicide missions. Although he could be terribly sarcastic about Bond’s womanizing and unorthodox methods, it’s always clear that he respects Bond as his best agent. Bernard Lee’s presence, along with Lois Maxwell’s Moneypenny and Desmond Llewelyn’s Q in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Live and Let Die (1973) brought important continuity to the series as it transitioned from Sean Connery to George Lazenby to Roger Moore.

When British cinema needed a strong military presence, it often turned to Lee who is particularly on display as Trevor Howard’s right arm in the 1949 classic The Third Man.

Let’s raise a glass of Guiness to Bernard Lee on his birthday.

Bernard Lee and George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Bernard Lee as M and George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Copyright © 1969 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

All text. Copyright © 2021 Steven Jay Rubin. All rights reserved.



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