GRAY, CHARLES

Entry Source: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin


(August 29, 1928–March 7, 2000; birth name: Donald M. Gray): British character actor who portrayed grim-faced Dikko Henderson in You Only Live Twice and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. The latter role was a much bigger one for Gray, who became the third actor to portray Blofeld on screen (following Donald Pleasence and Telly Savalas).

Gray’s Blofeld was certainly the most flamboyant of the series, but he’s hardly threatening. Spouting philosophical bilge and strutting around in smart tunics, an expensive cigarette holder dangling from his lips, he’s more an elegant cad than a true Bond villain. No wonder writers Tom Mankiewicz and Richard Maibaum stuffed him into a bathosub at the end of the film rather than have him face off against the two-fisted 007. Sean Connery versus Charles Gray? No contest.

Commented Mankiewicz, “It was wonderful to write this ‘piss elegant’ dialogue for Charles. You could give him lines like ‘The great powers flexing their military muscles like so many impotent beach boys’ because he could say them so well.”[1]

In You Only Live Twice, Gray’s Dikko Henderson is a pained civil servant who’s embraced a Japanese way of life. Moments after greeting Bond, he’s stabbed by a henchman of Mr. Osato (Teru Shimada).

A native of Bournemouth, Dorset, England, Gray made his feature film debut as Captain Brossard in actor/director José Ferrer’s biographical drama I Accuse! (1958), working alongside future Bond players Laurence Naismith (Diamonds Are Forever) and Eric Pohlmann. Gray’s other feature credits include The Night of the Generals (1967), as pompous General von Seidlitz-Gabler; The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968); The Executioner (1970); Cromwell (1970), as the Earl of Essex; The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), as the Criminologist; The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), as Mycroft Holmes; and The Jigsaw Man (1983), with fellow Bond veterans Yuri Borienko (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Anthony Dawson, Peter Burton, and Vladek Sheybal, directed by Bond veteran Terence Young.


[1] Tom Mankiewicz, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, Los Angeles, November 7, 1977.