Joseph Wiseman, Canadian theatre and film actor, Died at 91

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Dead, Joseph Wiseman on October 19, 2009, he was a Canadian theatre and film actor, best known for starring as the titular antagonist of the first James Bond film, Dr. No, his role as Manny Weisbord on the TV series Crime Story, and his career on Broadway.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada May 15, 1918 to Orthodox Jewish parents, Louis and Pearl Rubin (née Ruchwarger), Wiseman grew up in New York.

At age 16, he began performing in summer stock and became professional, which displeased his parents.

Wiseman appeared in several films in the 1950s.

He made his first major film appearance in 1951’s Detective Story, where he recreated his performance from Broadway as an unstable small-time hood. Soon after, he played Marlon Brando’s archenemy in Viva Zapata! (1952).

Wiseman’s most famous role as the titular Dr. No in the first James Bond film by Eon Productions came from producer Harry Saltzman, who cast Wiseman in the role in December 1961.

It was Wiseman’s performance in Detective Story that won him the part. (Later in his life, he viewed the film with disdain, and preferred to be remembered for his theatre career.

Wiseman had roles in a wide variety of other films: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Bye Bye Braverman, and guest-starring and cameo roles in TV series, including The Streets of San Francisco, The Untouchables, Crime Story, The Twilight Zone (“One More Pallbearer”), Magnum, P.I., Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Night Gallery.

He had mixed feelings about his role as the title character in Dr No(1962).

He preferred to be remembered for his theater career.

However, he was proud to be the first of the many actors who have played a main James Bond villain.

He had guest roles on many television shows, among them “Law & Order,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “The Untouchables” and “The Twilight Zone.” In the late 1980s, he had a recurring role as the crime boss Manny Weisbord on the NBC drama “Crime Story.”

On Broadway, Mr. Wiseman was seen most recently, in 2001, as a witness for the prosecution in Abby Mann’s stage adaptation of his film drama “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

In 1994, he appeared Off Broadway in the Tony Kushner play “Slavs!” in the role of Prelapsarianov, “the world’s oldest living Bolshevik.” Mr. Wiseman’s first marriage, to Nell Kinard, ended in divorce; his second wife, the choreographer Pearl Lang, died in February.

In addition to his daughter, Martha, from his marriage to Ms. Kinard, Mr. Wiseman is survived by a sister, Ruth Wiseman.

 

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