Felix Leiter (David Hedison)
Character: Felix Leiter
Movie: Live And Let Die, Licence To Kill
Actor: David Hedison
Date of Birth: 20/05/27
Height: 6’ 1” (1.85m)
Appearance: Male, Short Black/Grey hair, medium build, medium complexion, is
often seen wearing sunglasses and a casual suit.
thing. If you pull it off, the CIA get to bring him
Pleased To Meet You
Although Leiter is much less of a field agent
than 007, his knowledge and expertise have often arrived for
Bond just in the
nick of time. In “Live And Let Die”, Bond catches
up with his CIA buddy in Harlem, New York, at first via ‘a
genuine Felix Lighter’. On the “Licence To Kill” mission,
007 attends his old friend’s marriage in Key West, Florida,
before his sadistic run-in with Franz Sanchez.
007's American counterpart, Felix Leiter has often
assisted Bond in his overseas operations. Leiter is probably
thing that Bond has had to a friend, as shown by 007's extreme
reaction to Leiter's injuries in Licence To Kill.
Although Bond and Leiter have become
strong allies, not much is known about Felix's private
life. A CIA agent,
Bond first encountered Leiter during the “Dr
since then, he has been involved in a number of missions
with Bond, and they have not only remained allies, but
become great friends. Leiter appears to have somewhat of
a sense of humour, but his interests are unknown.
Leiter is a resourceful highly ranked
CIA agent and is a shining example of American cooperation.
Felix goes out
of his way to pool resources with MI6’s top agent
when shadowing Mr. Big and indeed fosters a strong connection
with James Bond, culminating with 007 acting as
best man at Leiter’s wedding to the lovely Della
Above: Felix Leiter says goodbye to James Bond and Solitaire
after the defeat of Kananga.
Live And Let Die – James Bond flies into JFK, hot
on the tail of Kanagna, the UN ambassador to the island nation
Monique with suspected connections to the New York gangster Mr
Big. Leiter catches up with Bond after he has a close call up
comes face to face with Mr. Big at one of the of
city’s Filet of Soul restaurants. The pair investigate
the chain of eateries run by Mr. Big and when Leiter steps
to take a call, Bond drops below to meet with the gangster again.
Later, Felix is left to clean up the mess when 007 causes a crisis
on the bayou and runs into the colorful Sheriff J.W. Pepper.
Licence To Kill – Having
shifted jobs to the DEA, Felix delays his
own wedding to assist the
capture of drug baron
Franz Sanchez, Bond, as best man, comes
along strictly as an observer, but proves and intricate
part in hijacking the villains escape route. The pair
rejoice after collaring Sanchez and making it to the church
on time, but the honeymoon
is stopped short
by the sadistic
Felix and rapes and murders Della.
"Killing me won't stop anything, Sanchez!"
In a dingy
Key West marine biology lab, Leiter is dangled as shark
meat whilst Franz Sanchez, Ed Killifer and Dario watch.
In the chaos, Leiter looses a leg below the knee. Bond
is maddened to find Leiter left for dead with the note, “he
disagreed with something that ate him,” and seeks
equally sadistic revenge on Sanchez and anyone connected
to him. At the end of the mission it is revealed that Leiter
is recovering in hospital and is starting to return to
his normal cheery self.
"There's only one law
down there... Sanchez's Law!"
Born Albert David Hedison in Rhode Island, Hedison
attended Brown University in his home town of Providence. He
New York in order to further his education and career, where
he worked with a series of minor playhouses and several off-Broadway
productions, making a name for himself and honing his art.
His early theatre work saw him win roles in “A
Phoenix Too Frequent”, “Clash By Night” and
he even won a prestigious Theatre World Award for his role in “Much
Ado About Nothing”. For these productions, Hedison was
credited as ‘Al Hedison’, as well as for early work
on stage and screen. He toured with a highly regarded production
of “Chapter Two” which he played opposite Broadway
star Anita Gillette. After his successes on stage Hedison was
quickly picked up on contract with cinema company: 20th Century
Hedison made his television debut in the mid
1950s and soon was offered work in feature films such as “The
Son of Robin Hood” and “The Fly”, both hitting
the screen in 1958. In 1959 Hedison was under contract with Fox,
him take a regular role as double agent Victor Sebastian in “Five
Fingers”. Here he played opposite the lovely Italian actress
Luciana Paluzzi who made her name in the UK as the femme fatale
Fiona Volpe in “Thunderball”.
In 1964, also with the backing of 20th Century
Fox, Hedison became a household name as his memorable character
in Television’s “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”.
Hedison played in all 110 episodes, which was created by TV legend
Irwin Allen. He was originally offered the role in the 1961 feature
film version of the aquatic adventure by was unavailable due
to his working on another Allen production: “The Lost World”.
Hedison worked with Roger Moore on a number
of occasions. First on 1962’s TV adventure, “The
Saint”, and then on Moore’s first Bond film, “Live
and Let Die”. He went on to work with Moore in 1979’s “North
Sea Hijack” and “The Naked Face” (1984).
In the 1970s and ‘80s Hedison made regular
roles on various sitcoms and long running television dramas
Island” and “Love Boat” as well as various
cameos, including memorable roles in “Knight Rider” and “Murder
Hedison became the first actor to ever return
to the Bond series as the memorable CIA man, Felix Leiter in
to Kill”. This film gave additional screen time to some
of 007’s longest standing allies, including M, Felix Leiter
and Q. In the sequence where Hedison and Dalton must gracefully
parachute to Leiter’s wedding, the actor suffered a nasty
fall when director John Glen requested that the crane (suspending
the actors for their fall) drop Hedison a tad faster. In the
next take Felix plummeted to the ground and left Hedison limping
for the rest of the shoot.
After Bond, Hedison slowed his career. He appeared
in a mere scattering of films throughout the 1990s and it was
until 2004 that he came back to regular TV, this time as Arthur
Hendricks in “The Young and the Restless”.
he married his wife Bridget and the pair remain together today.
He is the father of two daughters, Alexandra and Serena.