HEDISON, DAVID

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


(May 20, 1927–July 18, 2019; birth name: Albert David Hedison Jr.): Distinctive-voiced American character actor of Armenian descent who was the first person to play CIA agent Felix Leiter twice—in Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill. In the latter film, Leiter is captured and mutilated by drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), who throws him to the sharks. The event sends James Bond (Timothy Dalton) on a desperate, unauthorized mission of revenge.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Hedison made his big-screen debut, using the name Al Hedison, in director Dick Powell’s gritty World War II film The Enemy Below (1957), playing young Lieutenant Ware opposite Robert Mitchum. Hedison went on to star in a number of feature films—many of them revered by genre fans—including The Fly (1958); The Lost World (1960), with future Bond player Jill St. John; The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965); and ffolkes (1980), reteaming with Roger Moore. Hedison was best known for playing submarine skipper Lee Crane on the Irwin Allen–produced TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (110 episodes, 1964–1968).