James Bond is Dead. Long Live James Bond.

Barry Nelson
Actor Barry Nelson died at age 87. He was the first man to play James Bond on screen, in a one-hour live TV adaptation of Casino Royale which aired in 1954.

Casino Royale PosterA veteran of both WWII and the Broadway stage, Nelson was nominated for a Tony award for the 1977 production of The Act, a musical starring Liza Minelli and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Sources differ on his age, some saying he died at age 89, some saying he was born in 1920, which would make him 87.

Whatever his age, I’ve always remembered his interpretation of James Bond, playing him as a casually self-confident American opposite Peter Lorre who, as usual, played the bad guy.

Click here to read Barry Nelson’s account of playing the famous character.

Click here to read the Theater Mania obituary.

Still from Casino Royale

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One response to “James Bond is Dead. Long Live James Bond.

  1. I remember seeing this TV version of 007 a few years back. The technology of television has certainly improved.
    I’m glad you included the link to Barry nelson’s account as it explains a lot!
    The latest itteration of Casino Royale has rekindled my interest in the James Bond character. The versions over the last two decades have been too much of a cartoon and never engaging in a personal way.