Website last updated: 21-3-2024

Steven Jay Rubin remembering Francis de Wolff on his birthday

By: Steven Jay Rubin
Francis de Wolff Vavra From Russia with Love
The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia presents This Day in James Bond Movie History - remembering the late actor, Francis De Wolff on the anniversary of his birthday in 1913. De Wolff (1913-1984) portrayed Vavra, the fiery gypsy leader in From Russia with Love (1963).

He presides over a unique duel between two girls in love with the same man that is witnessed by James Bond (Sean Connery) and Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz). Interestingly, Vavra’s only line of dialogue is “Thank You, Thank You” which he utters twice.

In a James Bond movie filled with colorful and mysterious characters, the swarthy De Wolff makes a strong impression.

In industry parlance, he was an effective “heavy.” I remember him in one of my favorite swashbucklers – 1952’s Ivanhoe, where he portrayed Norman knight Front de Boef. Interestingly, his stunt double in the jousting scenes was either George Leech or Bob Simmons, both of whom would become prominent 007 stuntmen.

So let’s raise a cup of raki - that “filthy stuff”- to Francis and the sizable figure he cut in one of the best of all Bond films.

Francis de Wolff Vavra From Russia With Love
Francis de Wolff as Vavra in From Russia With Love. Copyright © 1963 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation.

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



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