Monday, July 22, 2019

David Hedison Passes On

David Hedison, who appeared in the movies The Fly (1958) and Live and Let Die (1973) and starred on the TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, died on July 19 2019 at the age of 92.

David Hedison was born Albert David Hedison, Jr. on May 20 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1945 and served for 18 months. He attended Brown University where he became interested in the theatre. He studied acting under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse and under Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio. He made his Broadway debut, using his name Al Hedison, in Much Ado About Nothing in 1952. He later appeared on Broadway in A Month in the Country in 1956.

David Hedison made his television debut in an episode of Danger in 1954. He was credited Al Hedison in episodes of Kraft Theatre and Star Tonight. In 1958 he signed with 20th Century Fox and his stage name was changed to David Hedison ("David" being his middle name). He was the lead on the TV show Five Fingers, which ran from 1959 to 1960. He made his film debut in 1957 in The Enemy Below. Mr. Hedison appeared in The Fly (1958), Son of Robin Hood (1958), and The Lost World (1960--the first film in which he was credited as "David Hedison").

In the Sixties he played Captain Lee Crane on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He guest starred on the show Hong Kong; Bus Stop; Perry Mason; The Saint; The Farmer's Daughter; Journey to the Unknown; and Love, American Style. He appeared in the films Marines, Let's Go (1961), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Kemek (1970.

In the Seventies David Hedison played Felix Leiter for the first time in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die (1973). He also appeared in the film North Sea Hijack (1980). Mr. Hedison guest starred on such shows as ITV Saturday Night Theatre, BBC Play of the Month, The F.B.I., The New Perry Mason, Shaft, Medical Center, The Manhunter, Cannon, Ellery Queen, Family, Barnaby Jones, Wonder Woman, The Bob Newhart Show, Benson, and Charlie's Angels.

In the Eighties David Hedison had a recurring role on The Colbys. He appeared in the mini-series A.D. He guest starred on such shows as Nero Wolfe, Hart to Hart, T. J. Hooker, Matt Houston, Amanda's, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, Love Boat, Simon & Simon, Knight Rider, Crazy Like a Fox, The A-Team, Trapper John M.D., Hotel, and Murder, She Wrote. He reprised his role as Felix Leiter in the James Bond movie Licence to Kill (1989), making him the only actor to play the character twice in the history of the franchise. He appeared in the films The Naked Face (1984) and Smart Alec (1986).

In the Nineties Mr. Hedison had a regular role on the soap opera Another World. In the Naughts he had a role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He appeared in the films Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001), Spectres (2004), and The Reality Trap (2005). He made his last appearance in the film Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk (2017).

David Hedison was a very talented actor, well suited to playing heroic roles. He was perfect in the roles of Captain Crane and Felix Leiter. While Mr. Hedison would play many heroic roles over the years, he was capable of playing other roles. Indeed, aside from Felix Leiter his most famous role may be that of obsessive, amoral scientist André Delambre in The Fly. In Kemek he played a writer who tests the drug of the title. While David Hedison played many heroic roles through the years, he was capable of playing many other sorts of roles as well.

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