Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(April 20, 1897–December 14, 1960): Russian actor/director, long in America, who purchased the feature film rights to Casino Royale from Ian Fleming for $6,000 in the mid-1950s. At one point, according to screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., Ratoff was developing Casino Royale as a vehicle for a lady James Bond, to be played by actress Susan Hayward.[1] He would later sell the rights to American producer Charles K. Feldman, who produced Casino Royale as a spoof in 1967.

Born in Samara, Russia, Ratoff made his motion picture acting debut in director Pyotr Chardynin’s silent German film Dubrowsky, der Räuber Ataman (1921). Over a decade later, he made his English-speaking film debut as Meyer Klauber in director Gregory La Cava’s drama Symphony of Six Million (1932). Ratoff made his directing debut on the drama Sins of Man (1936), sharing credit with Otto Brower.

[1] Steven Gaydos, “Jane Bond? Scribe’s-Eye View of 007 Pic Birth,” Variety, May 11, 2012.


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