(February 25, 1913–September 4, 1988; birth name: Karl-Gerhart Fröbe): Rotund German character actor who portrayed the iconic title character in Goldfinger—perhaps the best of all the Bond villains. Although his voice was later completely redubbed by a British actor, Michael Collins, Fröbe’s mannerisms were perfectly suited to the fabulously wealthy megalomaniac who is intent on exploding an atomic device inside Fort Knox, Kentucky—home of America’s gold reserves.
Israel banned the release of Goldfinger in 1964 when it was discovered that Fröbe had been a member of the Nazi Party during World War II. However, after the ban, a Jewish man named Mario Blumenau came forward and told the world that Fröbe had saved his and his mother’s lives by hiding them during the war. The ban was lifted after Fröbe also proved he had not been active in the party.
Born in Oberplanitz (now Zwickau), Saxony, Fröbe made his credited motion picture debut in director R. A. Stemmle’s musical comedy The Berliner (1948), playing Otto Normalverbraucher. American audiences first discovered him as oafish Sergeant Kaffekanne, the mounted German soldier who brings the beach gunners their milk every morning in The Longest Day (1962), a film that also featured Sean Connery. Two years after Goldfinger, he portrayed Colonel Manfred Von Holstein in Ken Annakin’s Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965).