(June 8, 1939–September 19, 2017): Tough-guy actor and former professional football player who portrayed CIA agent Felix Leiter in Never Say Never Again. Casey was the first African American actor to play James Bond’s counterpart in the Central Intelligence Agency. His part was small and underwritten.
Joining Bond (Sean Connery) in the south of France, where the Flying Saucer yacht belonging to Maximilian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is under surveillance, Leiter helps Bond escape from local authorities after 007 eliminates Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera) with his rocket pen. He later joins Bond in the climactic assault on Largo’s archaeological dig in the Tears of Allah, where he keeps some SPECTRE operatives pinned down with submachine gun fire.
Born in Wyco, West Virginia, Casey played wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers (1961–1966) and Los Angeles Rams (1967–1968). He made his feature film debut as Cassie in Guns of the Magnificient Seven (1969), working with future Bond player Joe Don Baker. Moving between film and television roles, Casey played the main creature in the memorable CBS television film Gargoyles (1972). His additional feature film credits include Boxcar Bertha (1972), Cleopatra Jones (1973), Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Sharky’s Machine (1981), Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Spies Like Us (1985) Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Under Siege (1992), and many others.