Actor Barry Nelson, first James Bond, dies

April 14, 2007 at 10:51 AM
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LOS ANGELES, April 14 (UPI) -- Barry Nelson, an American actor who was the first to portray British secret agent James Bond, has died while traveling in Pennsylvania at the age of 89.

Nelson, a leading man on Broadway who launched his movie career in the 1940s, starred as the suave spy in a live television production of "Casino Royale," the Los Angeles Times said.

Nelson, who died April 7 of still-undetermined causes, was an MGM contract player in the 1940s, appearing in numerous films, including such as "Shadow of the Thin Man," "Dr. Kildare's Victory," "Airport" and "The Shining."

His success on Broadway also spanned decades. His credits include appearing in "Light Up the Sky" and then-saucy "The Moon Is Blue" in the 1940s, "Cactus Flower" opposite Lauren Bacall in the '60s and "The Act" with Liza Minnelli, for which he received a Tony Award nomination as best actor in a musical in 1978.

It was while he was working on "My Favorite Husband" for CBS TV that Nelson was offered the role of Bond in "Casino Royale," the TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, on the CBS anthology "Climax!"

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