Charles Gray (1928-2000)

LONDON (Reuters) – Charles Gray, the British actor best known for his portrayal of the cat-loving but otherwise villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever,“ died on Tuesday, his agent said on Wednesday.

Gray, who was 71, specialized in smooth, unsympathetic roles and played Blofeld to perfection. Of the four actors who have played Blofeld, which include Max Von Sydow, Donald Pleasance, Charles Gray and Telly Savalas, only Von Sydow remains alive today.

Blofeld was the head of SPECTRE, the Special Executive for Counter Espionage, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, a shadowy private organization which specialized in holding the world to ransom and devising increasingly more intricate ways of trying to kill Bond. Gray also played Dikko Hendeson in the 1967 Bond film “You Only Live Twice”.

Gray, who died in hospital, also starred in “The Mirror Crack`d“ an Agatha Christie adaptation, and the wartime drama “Night of the Generals.“

He also gained a curious type of fame when he provided a voice for actor Jack Hawkins, who had his larynx removed in an operation for throat cancer.

His death follows that of veteran actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played the gadgetry expert known as Q in a series of Bond films. Llewelyn, 85, died shortly after appearing in his last Bond film — “The World is Not Enough.“

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