Friday, April 13, 2007
R.I.P.: Barry Nelson (1920-2007)
Barry Nelson was indeed "the answer to the trivia question: Who was the first actor to play James Bond? Before Sean Connery was tapped to play the British agent on the big screen in 1962's Dr. No, Nelson played Bond in a one-hour TV adaptation of Casino Royale in 1954." (The TV drama has been available on VHS and DVD for several years, and appears as a "Special Feature" on the DVD edition of the mega-spoofy 1967 version of Ian Fleming's novel.) But Nelson also will be remembered by many as a reliable MGM contract player of the 1940s and, later, an accomplished stage actor in and around New York. I had the great good fortune to see him opposite Deborah Kerr, Frank Langella and Maureen Anderman in the original 1975 Broadway production of Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning Seascape. He was pretty damn good.