MI6 looks back to the media coverage in 1994 when director and Bond-maker Terence Young passed away...

Time Tunnel: The Passing of a Legend
3rd February 2009

The year was 1994 and while a whole new era of fans followed the shooting of Pierce Brosnan's first action packed adventure "GoldenEye", long-time 007 followers saw the passing of one of the key Bond-makers. On the 7th of September 1994, Terence Young passed away in a hospital on the Cote d'Azur after suffering a heart attack. On the following Friday, The New York Times ran an extended obituary for the suave 1960s director.

The papers hailed Young's career as a director and the important contribution he made to the legendary pop-icon, James Bond:

"In 1963, Mr. Young directed the first of the Bond movies, Dr. No, based on Ian Fleming's novels about a British secret service agent, with Sean Connery and Ursula Andress. "

Before landing the career-boosting position of 007's debut director, Young made a variety of films, most notably with Irving Allen and then later with Warwick Films - Albert R. Broccoli's production company before the days of 007. 

Right: Terrence Young on location with Sean Connery and Ursula Andress...


Mr. Young was born Stewart Terence Herbert Young and was educated in the public school system. Fresh out of school he delved into the world of Oriental history at Cambridge (a mirror of the character of James Bond himself). Before entering the cinema industry, Young served as a tank commander in the Second World War and notably lead a team into the battle at Arnhem in the Netherlands. When he was wounded on the front-line he was nursed by none other than the soon-to-be film star Audrey Hepurn.

"Mixing sex, violence and offbeat humor against expensive sets and exotic locations, "Dr. No" was a huge box-office success and proved a winning formula for the other Bond movies."

"The second in the series, 'From Russia With Love', again directed by Mr. Young, with Mr. Connery, Robert Shaw and Daniela Bianchi, appeared in 1964. In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the film "delightfully wild" and "fictional exaggeration on a grand scale and in a dashing style. Mr. Young also directed the fourth Bond film, 'Thunderball', in 1965."

Young is widely credited with bringing Bond to the screen: together with a young Sean Connery. He would add a layer of black humor to the pictures - often in the form of improvised one-liners from the star or director. Terence Young was undoubtedly responsible for crafting the filmic character and directing Sean Connery into Bond's shoes.


The long forgotten NYT columnist states Young's retirement from the director's chair as plainly as ever: "In an interview the following year, Mr. Young said that he was tired of the Bond films and that 'Thunderball' was his last outing with Agent 007."

The NYT was careful to highlight Terrence Young's successes beyond Bond, but much of the coverage put his work on 007 film series in the spotlight.

"Mr. Young, who was born in Shanghai, also directed many other movies. They included 'Storm Over the Nile' (1955); 'The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders' (1965); 'Triple Cross' (1966); 'Mayerling' (1969); 'Wait Until Dark' (1967), and 'The Jigsaw Man' (1984)."

Left: Young poses for snap during the pre-production of his final Bond outing, "Thunderball"...

"His 1982 film 'Inchon', an action drama about the Korean War with Sir Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, was his biggest commercial failure. But his Bond movies were the ones that proved most popular with audiences and they are still regularly shown on television."

Young's last production before retirement was in released in 1988 - a David Carradine drama entitled "Run For Your Life". As well as contributing to over 40 productions in the director's chair, he has also been credited with penning a handful of films. However, he will remain best known for crafting the character of James Bond for the screen - an icon that would last long beyond his own time.

In his lifetime, Young was married twice: first to Dorothea Bennett, a writer and actress and then Sabine Sun an '80s and '70s French actress. Young famously turned down directorial positions on two Bond productions: "For Your Eyes Only" and rogue Bond flick, "Never Say Never Again".

Juliet Nissen, daughter to Terrence Young, revealed in an announcement after his death that her father was working on a documentary film in Cannes when he was taken ill. Young left behind three children, including Juliet, by his first wife Dorothea Bennett and second, Sabine Sun.

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Time Tunnel - Index
Dr. No
From Russia With Love