Website last updated: 21-3-2024

A Tribute to jazz singer VR Smith - wife of Putter Smith

By: Mark Cerulli
VR (Verna Rose) Putter Smith
Putter Smith is famous in Bond circles for his wonderfully understated performance as “Mr. Kidd” in the iconic Diamonds Are Forever (1971) directed by jazz aficionado Guy Hamilton. His unlikely rise from noted jazz musician to hit man has been written about extensively, but his muse and wife of 55 years, jazz singer Verna Rose (VR) Smith, is less well known.

Sadly, Verna Rose (VR) passed away on October 29, 2020, but along with her distinguished singing (and drumming) career, she was also a big influence on Putter’s performance – even his decision to join the Bond film’s cast. A bass player with no acting experience at all, director Guy Hamilton was intrigued by Putter’s look after watching him playing in an LA jazz club. Out of the blue he was called to audition and told he wouldn’t be needing his bass. Once the offer was made, Putter, way more comfortable standing beside his massive instrument than being center stage, naturally had some doubts. It was VR who told him to go for it – “They hired you, just be you!” she said at the time.

Once the excitement of Diamonds Are Forever had settled down, Putter and VR raised their kids, Minerva and Lambert, and continued their careers in the California arts scene (although Putter was flown around the world to play at various concerts and recordings). VR sang with several choir groups and one night was invited up on stage to sing at a local gig Putter and his good friend, guitarist Dave Koonse, were playing. Boom! A jazz career was born. Gifted with a haunting, melodious voice that conveys a deep sense of life experience, she played countless gigs in the LA area and released four albums, the last of which, Once I Loved, was put out just days before her untimely passing. The Music Man Blog has reviewed it here.

Listen to VR Smith performing Once I Loved:

It was her wish that people go out and support live music as soon as it is safe to do so once again.

FSWL and the entire Bond community mourns this gentle, lovely spirit who inspired one of our favorite Bond cast members. I personally will miss the warm lady of the house who would always offer me a cup of coffee and a smile when I came to ask her husband about his Bond adventures. RIP and Thank You.

VR Smith performing Alone Together
Cover for VR Smith's album Alone Together. Copyright © 2012 CD Baby. All rights reserved.

Go to to order a copy of VR Smith's Alone Together and/or Beautiful Love.



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