WISEMAN, JOSEPH

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


(May 15, 1918–October 19, 2009): Canadian character actor who portrayed Dr. No in the Bond film of the same name. Made up to appear half Asian—reflecting the character’s German/Chinese heritage—and outfitted with a stylish wardrobe and black metal hands, Wiseman set the tone for every future Bond villain. The measured way in which Wiseman delivered his dialogue—using an unemotional, monotone “voice of doom”—was a marvelous and memorable touch.

As the story goes, author Ian Fleming wrote the character with his cousin, actor Christopher Lee, in mind. But producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wanted Wiseman. Although he had made his feature film debut in With These Hands (1950), which dramatized the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, it was his role as the crazed thief/drug addict Charley Gennini in director William Wyler’s Detective Story (1951) that ensured his place among the great character actors of his era. His feature credits include Les Misérables (1952), The Garment Jungle (1957), The Unforgiven (1960), Bye Bye Braverman (1968), The Valachi Papers (1972), The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), and The Betsy (1978). A native of Montreal, Wiseman made his television debut opposite Tom Ewell and Anne Bancroft in the Lights Out episode “The Deal” (1951). He later appeared in the miniseries Masada (1981) and played the recurring role of Manny Weisbord in Crime Story (18 episodes, 1986–1988).