Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya)
Actor: Lotte Lenya
Character: Rosa Klebb
Movie: From Russia With Love
Date of Birth: 18th October 1898
Distinguishing Feature: SMERSH/SPECTRE double agent
Appearance: Short stature with light brown hair, tightly cropped short. Green eyes, often wears thick rimmed specials
Organizations And Alliances: SPECTRE,
SMERSH, KGB, Red Grant, Kronsteen
"I have chosen you for an important assignment. A real labour of love. It's purpose is to give false information to the enemy. If you complete it successfully, you will be promoted."
A shrewd and manic villain with a manipulative
streak, Klebb is the perfect SPECTRE operative. Her role as head
of SMERSH's assassination
and torture department before her defection to SPECTRE gave the
organisation connections to high-ranking Russian espionage experts,
Klebb to operate under the radar and access to Russian funds,
people and resources. Klebb will not tolerate
failure and makes this clear from her brooding and battle-warn
demeanor. Despite Klebb's small and short build, she
had an authoritative and domineering look. Klebb was brutal and
sadistic, taking pleasure
in taunting and threatening people as was displayed in her interview
with Tatiana Romanova where she manipulates the
unwitting innocent cipher clerk into doing SPECTRE's bidding.
After James Bond outwitted the extortion plot of Dr
No mission, Klebb and her fellow SPECTRE operatives
are out to shame the British Security Service. With a plan
concocted by the chess master and SPECTRE stagiest, Kronsteen,
Klebb as SPECTRE Number 3 is charged with the execution
of the scheme that will see the British Agent 007 dead
for the murder of Romanova. After convincing Romanova to
play along with whatever Bond suggests and falsely alerting
to the availability of a new LEKTOR decoder, Klebb sets
a honey trap for 007.
I've Been Expecting You
When the mission goes sour, Klebb - not unused to facing off
against foreign spies - catches up with Bond and Romanova,
who assume themselves to be safely entrenched in Venice.
In Bond's suite, Klebb disguises herself as a chambermaid and
sneaks in to salvage her master plan.
As a high ranking SMERSH operative, Klebb has private offices in Istanbul, but
when her SPECTRE duties require she visits the remote training facility for
the terrorist known only as SPECTRE Island.
Gadgets & Vehicles
When attempting to deal with 007 herself, Rosa Klebb adopts
some lethal footwear with a hidden, spring-loaded poison
tipped blade embedded in the sole. Later, the MI6 boffins
this unique weapon and the gadget remains in the Quartermaster's
Rarely seen out of her Russian Colonel's attire, Klebb dresses
formally in smart tan suits embossed with the red and gold
of the USSR.
Goodbye Mr Bond
In a scuffle with James Bond in his Venetian hotel room, Bond struggles to stay
alive whilst Romanova shoots her former boss and saves a grateful 007.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Karoline Wilhelmine Charlotte
Blamauer grew up in her hometown that was at the time part of
the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her parents were of middle class Roman
Catholic extraction and at age 17, Karoline left home to pursue
a career on stage in Switzerland.
In Zurich, she first performed
on stage at the famous Schauspielhaus, where she took her
nom de plum, Lotte Lenya. Her lucky break at this theatre
company came from many hours of study of classical dance,
singing and acting at one of Zurich's prominent drama schools.
With her study out the
way and high hopes of pursuing a professional career, Lenya
moved to Berlin in 1921.
She auditioned for a role in the "Zaubernach", the
first production to be scored by the now-famous composer,
Kurt Weill. When she was invited to join the cast she regretfully
declined as her great friend and voice coach who also auditioned
for a role was not cast. Such loyalty and friendship is
rarely seen in theatre and dramatics today. Some good would
come out of her audition for the production: her rendezvous
and later marriage to the incredible composer, Weill.
"Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience!"
1928 saw her on stage as Jenny in "The
Threepenny Opera" and
in 1931 Lenya was rewarded with her first on-screen role: the
film based on the Weill-scored play. During this period she also
recorded a number of vocal tracks composed by her husband. Despite
the success of the Weill musical, the stage-star would not
return to cinema for another 30 years.
When war broke out in Germany, Lenya escaped the Nazi regime and worked for a period in France. Unfortunately from 1933 to 1937 she was estranged from her husband - but nevertheless continued to perform in his musicals. The highlight of her time in France was undoubtedly her role in "The Seven Deadly Sins".
In 1945 Lenya performed in the poorly received "Firebrand
of Florence" and
after the minimal success of this production, took a sabbatical
from the stage to become reunited with her husband, Weill, with
whom she remained until his death in 1950. During the war period
and again following her husband's death, Lenya made a name for
herself in New York, getting involved in Broadway shows such
as "Barefoot in Athens".
Lenya then married acclaimed editor
George David. She returned to the silver screen in the early
1960's in the Vivien Leigh starrer, "The Roman Spring
Stone" (1961) as well as the famous
and manic villain, Rosa Klebb, in the second James Bond film
"From Russia With Love" (1963).
Lenya set up a foundation to look after the
royalties from her late husbands compositions and musicals. She
would later earn a role in the 1966 Kander and Ebb musical "Cabaret"
as the composers insisted they were greatly inspired by her late
husband. On the death of her second husband, Lenya married
Russell Detwiler in 1962. When he passed away at age 44, she
married Richard Siemanowski in 1971. The pair remained together
for just two years before they separated.
Lenya passed away in 1981 in New York after
suffering from cancer. She was laid to rest with her first husband
in Havenstraw, New York.