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
Status: Terminated
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, also allowing 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 and framed for the murder of Romanova. After convincing Romanova to play along with whatever Bond suggests and falsely alerting MI6 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 salvaged this unique weapon and the gadget remains in the Quartermaster's archive.

Dress Code
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 of Mr 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.