Joseph WisemanJoseph Wiseman, the actor wrote the manual on how to play a Bond villain as the title character in the first 007 movie, 'Dr. No,' died at age 91 at his home in Manhattan.

His daughter, Martha Graham Wiseman, confirmed to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times that her father had been in declining health for a few years. Joseph WisemanJoseph Wiseman, the actor wrote the manual on how to play a Bond villain as the title character in the first 007 movie, 'Dr. No,' died at age 91 at his home in Manhattan.

His daughter, Martha Graham Wiseman, confirmed to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times that her father had been in declining health for a few years.

A precise and intense actor, Wiseman created the template for all future James Bond nemeses with his performance in 1962's 'Dr. No,' the titular Chinese villain. Though Wiseman's Dr. No was megalomaniacal and bent on world domination, he was also cool, genteel, refined and quietly ruthless. Oh yes, and freakishly scarred -- in this case, by a nuclear accident that forced him to wear prosthetic metal claws for hands.

"I had no idea it would achieve the success it did," Wiseman told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. "As far as I was concerned, I thought it might be just another grade-B Charlie Chan mystery." Instead, it became the launching pad of an enormously successful and much-imitated film franchise that has lasted through more than 20 movies and nearly 50 years -- much to Wiseman's chagrin.

"He was horrified in later life because that's what he was remembered for," Martha Graham Wiseman told the Los Angeles Times. "Stage acting was what he wanted to be remembered for."



Wiseman, who was born in Montreal on May 15, 1918, was a Broadway actor for more than 60 years, from his debut in 1938's 'Abe Lincoln in Illinois' to his final role in 2001's 'Judgment at Nuremberg.' His other Broadway credits included 'Joan of Lorraine' (1946), 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1947), 'Detective Story' (1949), 'The Lark' (1955,) and the title role in 'In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer' (1969). Off-Broadway, he played Prelapsarianov, the world's oldest living Bolshevik, in Tony Kushner's 'Slavs!' (1994).

Wiseman's film career began in 1951 with his reprise of his stage role as a psychotic burglar in the film version of 'Detective Story.' Other films included 'Viva Zapata!' (1952), 'The Garment Jungle' (1957), 'The Unforgiven' (1960), 'The Night They Raided Minsky's' (1968), 'The Valachi Papers' (1972), and 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz' (1974), which saw him return to his native Montreal.

On TV, he was best known for his recurring role as crimelord Manny Weisbord on the 1980s series 'Crime Story.' He also guest starred on such shows as 'The Untouchables,' 'The Twilight Zone,' 'The F.B.I.,' 'The Streets of San Francisco,' 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,' 'Magnum P.I.,' 'The A-Team,' 'MacGyver,' 'L.A. Law,' and 'Law & Order.'
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