Website last updated: 7-5-2024

In Memoriam of Felix Leiter actor David Hedison (1927-2019)

By: Anders Frejdh
David Hedison Felix Leiter
FSWL and the rest of the Bond fan community mourns the passing of our friend, the American actor David Hedisonwho portrayed Felix Leiter (one of the more important characters from the James Bond novels) in both Live and Let Die (1973) and Licence to Kill (1989). David died at home in Florida on 18th July 2019 and our thoughts now goes to his family and friends, especially his daughters Alexandra and Serena.

“Very sad to receive the news of David Hedison's passing aged 92. He was a great guy and supported the From Sweden With Love site since its launch in 2004. We first met in 2003 and in 2008 he graciously gave us an interview to talk about his work portraying Felix Leiter opposite his dear friend Roger Moore as James Bond 007, and later opposite Timothy Dalton as 007. Rest in peace David, I will never forget you. Love and only love.” - Anders Frejdh

About American actor David Hedison

David Hedison, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, began his acting career with the Sock & Buskin Players at Brown University before moving to New York to study with Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham at the Neighbourhood Playhouse, and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. From there, he moved to off Broadway productions and a film contract with 20th Century-Fox.

His work on the New York Stage includes Turgenev's "A Month in the Country", directed by Sir Michael Redgrave and starring Uta Hagen, for which he won a Theatre World Award, Christopher Fry's "A Phoenix Too Frequent" and Clifford Odets' "Clash by Night". He toured with Anita Gillette in the National Company of Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" and appeared in Los Angeles in the West Coast premiere of Alan Bowen's "Forty Deuce", and in the Allan Miller production of "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" in the role of Larry Parks.

He toured with Elizabeth Ashley in the Joseph Hayes' play, "Come into My Parlour", and was in the world premiere run of Bernard Slade's "Return Engagements". In addition to appearing in A. R. Gurney's "Love Letters", with Anita Gillette in 1998, David also appeared in "Alone Together", "First Love" and the long-suffering husband in "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts.

While at Fox, Hedison made two television series: Five Fingers (1959-1960) and the long-running Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968) as Captain Crane. He has also appeared in a great variety of roles, from the PBS Television Theatre's production of Oliver Hailey's For the Use of the Hall (1975) directed by Lee Grant, and the NBC mini-series A.D. (1985), directed by Stuart Cooper, to ABC's Dynasty II: The Colbys (1985-1987). For five years, he played Spencer Harrison in the NBC daytime series Another World (1991-1996, 1999).

David has worked extensively on British television, including the BBC presentation of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke (1972) in the role of John Buchanan opposite Lee Remick and performed in a West End production of James Leo's "Herlihy's Bad Bad Jo Jo".

Between the stage and television work, he has maintained a steady career in feature films, from his first film under contract to Fox, The Enemy Below (1957), with Robert Mitchum and Curd Jürgens (who portrayed Stromberg, the main villain, in the 1977 James Bond film The Sphy Who Loved Me), to the popular Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2002) with Michael York and Michael Biehn.

He played Felix Leiter in two James Bond films, Live and Let Die (1973) opposite his good friend Roger Moore, and Licence to Kill (1989) opposite Timothy Dalton. Film buffs will also remember him in the title role in the original version of The Fly (1958). The Fly was selected as one of the "Sci-Fi 100" in Entertainment Weekly as being one of the all-time greatest works of science fiction.

David Hedison Live and Let Die
Photo above: David Hedison as Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die 1973. Copyright © 1973 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

In recent years, David has also starred in Fugitive Mind (1999) with Michael Dudikoff and Gil Gerard, and Mach 2 (2000) with Brian Bosworth and Michael Dorn. David's two recent films, Spectres and Death by Committee were released in 2005.

In January of 2004, David debuted on the CBS Daytime drama The Young and the Restless as Judge Arthur Hendricks, an old flame of Katherine Chancellor. Soon after his arrival in Genoa City, Arthur was revealed to be the biological father of Katherine's new found daughter, Jill Foster Abbott. Jill was given away at birth and adopted and was only now beginning to know her birth parents. Arthur saw Kay through her relapse into alcoholism, helped stage the intervention that sent her to rehab, and when Kay was sober, they became engaged to be married.

In the summer and fall of 2006 and into 2007, David worked on four audio books. The first, McKnight's Memory, was published in October 2007. The second, The King, McQueen and the Love Machine, does not yet have a release date. The third project was a 12 minute introduction to the reissue of James Bond Lifestyle that came out June 7, 2007. His fourth audio book project, The Casino Caper, was released in August of 2007.

David got 2008 off to a rousing start by celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Live and Let Die in England, with autograph signings at the Vintage Magazine Shop in London and The Memorabilia Show in Birmingham. David then wrote an introduction to the James Bond comic The Paradise Plot which was released in the United States on July 8, 2008.

David spent from June of 2007 until March of 2008 working on the trade paperback, The Fly at 50, in collaboration with Diane Kachmar and David Goudsward. The book was published in October, 2008.

In 2009, David contributed to a book about his first television series, Five Fingers. He also participated in performances of "The Cherry Orchard" and "I Never Sang for my Father" in Los Angeles.

David remained active in 2010. He once again worked on the committee that nominated the five foreign films for an Academy Award.

In 2011, David took part in, and was interviewed for, the Vincentennial celebration - 100 years of Vincent Price.

For more information about David's film career, visit his official website at



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Founder & Managing Editor: Anders Frejdh