(January 10, 1908–January 16, 1981; birth name: John Bernard Lee): British character actor who portrayed M, the retired admiral turned Bond’s Secret Service superior in the first eleven James Bond movies. As with Desmond Llewelyn’s character Q, M’s serious demeanor was in direct contrast to 007’s cavalier attitude toward bureaucratic authority and the British stiff upper lip.
Born in Brentford, Middlesex, England, Lee made his feature film debut in director Leslie Howard Gordon’s comedy The Double Event (1934). Lee’s other feature credits include The Third Man (1949); Sailor of the King (1953); Beat the Devil (1953); The Purple Plain (1954); Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956); Fire Down Below (1957); The Key (1958); Sink the Bismarck! (1960), as the uncredited firing officer; The L-Shaped Room (1962); Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965); The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965); and Operation Kid Brother (1967), starring Sean Connery’s brother Neil, along with fellow Bond vets Daniela Bianchi, Adolfo Celi, Anthony Dawson, and Lois Maxwell).