PLEASENCE, DONALD

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


(October 5, 1919–February 2, 1995): Acclaimed British character actor who was the first to portray SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld on camera, in 1967’s You Only Live Twice. Thanks to a makeup department scar, he was suitably evil-looking, but his slight form and decidedly low-key demeanor never matched the attributes of the enormously villainous character featured in the original Fleming novels.

A native of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, the prolific Pleasence made his big-screen debut as Tromp in director Muriel Box’s romantic comedy The Beachcomber (1954), which also featured future Bond player Michael Mellinger in a bit part. Pleasence’s career included such iconic films as The Great Escape (1963), as Blythe the Forger; Fantastic Voyage (1966), as Dr. Michaels; The Night of the Generals (1967); THX 1138 (1971); The Eagle Has Landed (1976), as Himmler; Halloween (1978), as Loomis; and Escape from New York (1981), as the president.