Bond's Gadget-Man 'Q' Killed in Car Crash

John Klassa (
Mon, 20 Dec 1999 08:53:13 -0500

[ From
Major bummer -- he was my favorite Bond character. I guess John
Cleese' introduction as "R" was quite timely. -JK ]

Bond's Gadget-Man 'Q' Killed in Car Crash

By Sara Marani

LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played gadgetry
expert Q in a string of James Bond films, died in a car crash on Sunday.

Llewelyn, 85, was driving home from a booksigning to promote his
autobiography in East Sussex, south of London, when his car collided
head-on with another, police said.

``Mr. Llewelyn suffered massive multiple injuries. He was airlifted from
the scene and, along with two others, was taken to hospital, where he
died,'' a Sussex police spokeswoman told Reuters.

Llewelyn co-starred with four of the five Bonds in 17 of the 19 Bond
films, including the latest, ``The World is Not Enough.''

He made the part his own, becoming an institution almost better loved
than Bond himself.

He first appeared in the 1963 film ``From Russia With Love,'' with the
first of his gadgets, a booby-trapped suitcase.

But Llewelyn himself hated contraptions.

``I loathe gadgets,'' he admitted at a promotion for the latest Bond
movie. ``They always go wrong. I'm just hopeless with gadgets.''

Connery Was ``Perfect'' Bond

Of the five actors to play Bond, Llewelyn picked Sean Connery as perfect
in the part.

``George Lazenby played it straight and well. Roger Moore was much
lighter and more jokey. It was a rather camp portrayal, with a lot more
emphasis on humor, but it worked,'' he said.

``Timothy Dalton was Ian Fleming's Bond -- a real character. His
confidence and surliness were straight from the books. It was brave but
people didn't like it.''

And of current 007, Pierce Brosnan, he said: ``He is extremely good. He
has the right look and manner.''

Llewelyn's character was due to be retired from Her Majesty's Secret
Service and written out of the Bond films.

Signing off in ``The World is Not Enough,'' he will be replaced by
sidekick R, played by John Cleese.

Q was never a character in the Fleming novels -- though in the first
Bond book, ``Casino Royale,'' it is 'Q Branch' that supplies 007's

When work started on the film version of ``From Russia with Love,''
Llewelyn was offered the role of the equipment expert, and audiences
clamored for more.

Lovable Q

Q's character solidified into one of rattled impatience and quiet
desperation and the scripts were generous with witty one-liners.

But the role remained little more than a bit part, though with the
gadets becoming even more important accessories than the Bond women, Q
became the best-loved role.

``What you saw in the films is what he was. He was a kind, very lovable
man, and as a father he was great,'' Llewelyn's son Ivor told Sky
Television on Sunday.

``He always wanted to be an actor, from about age 16. He had some
opposition from his parents so he tried being an accountant but wasn't
cut out for it -- so he went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts)
when he was 20.

Llewelyn, the son of a Welsh coalminer, was alone in the blue Renault
Megane when it crashed.

The two others hurt in the accident, a 35-year-old man and his female
companion, were still in hospital with minor injuries.

``Weather wasn't a factor in the accident,'' the police spokeswoman
said, declining to comment on a possible cause of the crash.

Llewelyn endured five years as a prisoner of war in Germany during World
war Two.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Pamela, mother to his two
sons. She has Alzheimer's disease and lives in a nursing home.

John Klassa / Cisco Systems, Inc. / RTP, NC / USA / / <><