Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Look Back At Bernard Lee, The Actor Who Was M

MI6, the James Bond web site, not the British intelligence agency, offers a look back at the late Bernard Lee, the wonderfully gruff old actor who portrayed Ian Fleming's character M, James Bond's wonderfully gruff old boss in the Bond film series.

James Bond's relationship with his chief is a complex and paternal one. He is regularly summoned to the plush office on the top floor of the MI6 headquarters for a stern briefing wherein "M" typically survey's his top double-0 operative severely and instructs him on his latest mission. Yet, behind the authoritarian demeanor, M cares for Bond and the service, having given his life to the intelligence forces. Bond affectionally refers to his chief as 'The Old Man', but only when he believes M to be out of earshot.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: Commander Ian Fleming served as the personal assistant to the director of British Naval Intelligence in WWII. He served two directors during the course of the war and the first was Royal Navy Admiral John Godfrey. Many have noted that Fleming based M on Admiral Godfrey.

Also, the piece fails to mention that Bernard Lee also appeared in Carol Reed and Graham Greene's classic film The Third Man with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten.

Lee appears in the above photo as M as he addresses Sean Connery as James Bond in From Russia With Love.

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