Ο πρώτος κινηματογραφικός αντίπαλος του Τζέιμς Μποντ έφυγε από τον κόσμο, σε ηλικία 91 ετών.
Ο βετεράνος καρατερίστας, Τζόζεφ Γουάισμαν, πέθανε στο σπίτι του στο Μανχάταν. Έχοντας μια μακρά ακαι πλούσια σταδιοδρομία στο θέατρο -έπαιζε στο Μπροντγουέι μέχρι το 2001- αντιμετώπισε με απέχθεια τον ρόλο που τον έκανε διάσημο στο ευρύτερο κοινό, φοβούμενος ότι θα είναι το μοναδικό για το οποίο θα τον θυμούνται. Ο Γουάισμαν γεννήθηκε στον Καναδά το 1918 και μετακόμισε με την οικογένειά του στις ΗΠΑ σε μικρή ηλικία. Aνέβηκε για πρώτη φορά στο σανίδι το 1938. [enet.gr, 20:23 Τετάρτη 21 Οκτωβρίου 2009]
Joseph Wiseman obituary
Versatile character actor best remembered on screen as James Bond's adversary Dr No
- guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 October 2009 18.33 BST
Despite the fact that Joseph Wiseman, who has died aged 91, appeared in dozens of movies and countless TV series and had only 20 minutes of screen time in Dr No (1962), it is for his performance in that film, as the eponymous adversary to James Bond in the first movie of the series, based on the books by Ian Fleming, that he will best be remembered.
Dressed in a white Nehru jacket with a pair of shiny black, prosthetic hands, the result of a "misfortune", Wiseman was cool and calculating as the half-German, half-Chinese arch enemy of 007, played by Sean Connery, and one of the most effective of Bond villains. Dr Julius No is a member of Spectre – the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion. "The four great cornerstones of power headed by the greatest brains in the world," he explains. "Correction. Criminal brains," says Bond. "A successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be," retorts Dr No.
Wiseman was fortunate that Noël Coward, a friend and neighbour of Fleming's in Jamaica, where the film was set, turned the role down, saying, "Doctor No? No. No. No." Of his most famous role, Wiseman said: "I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I had no idea it would achieve the success it did. I know nothing about mysteries. I don't take to them. As far as I was concerned, I thought it might be just another grade-B Charlie Chan mystery."
Wiseman was born in Montreal, Canada, and his family subsequently moved to the US. He started his acting career on stage in his late teens, making his Broadway debut as part of the ensemble in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938), with Raymond Massey in the title role. There followed parts in three plays by Maxwell Anderson: Journey to Jerusalem (1940), Candle in the Wind (1941) and Joan of Lorraine (1946), and he was the eunuch Mardian in Antony and Cleopatra (1947), directed by and starring Kathleen Cornell.
But it was his role on stage in Sidney Kingsley's Detective Story (1949) that launched his film career, during which he typically played slightly crazy off-beat characters. Wiseman, in a loud striped suit, was both sleazy and comic as the lowlife burglar, becoming hysterical when interrogated by overzealous policeman Ralph Bellamy. He repeated the role in William Wyler's 1951 film version, starring Kirk Douglas, without toning down his manic stage performance.
This coiled-up energy proved to be highly effective in Elia Kazan's Viva Zapata! (1952), in which he played the opportunistic journalist and agent provocateur who finally betrays Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando). He continued to steal scenes in two rather risible biblical epics, as an imposing priest in The Silver Chalice (1954), Paul Newman's debut picture, and as a wily beggar in The Prodigal (1955). Around the same time, Wiseman was able to reveal more of his talent on stage. He played Edmund to Louis Calhern's King Lear; the gangster Eddie Fuselli in a revival of Clifford Odets's Golden Boy (1952), and The Inquisitor in Jean Anouih's The Lark (1955), with Julie Harris as Joan of Arc.
In 1960, returning to movies, Wiseman had a typically flashy role as a one-eyed, deranged itinerant evangelist armed with the "Sword of God" in John Huston's western The Unforgiven. Then, in 1962, came The Happy Thieves, in which, third-billed after Rita Hayworth and Rex Harrison, he seemed to have some fun as a master forger, and the infamous Dr No. It was six years before Wiseman made another movie.
Making up for lost time, he appeared in seven films within a few years. Apart from playing ruthless Italian gangsters in Stiletto (1969) and The Valachi Papers (1972), Wiseman created a niche for himself portraying a variety of Jewish characters. In The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), Wiseman is the bemused Jewish owner of the notorious burlesque theatre, who disapproves of his son's introducing striptease.
Bye Bye Braverman (1968) saw him as a pedantic lecturer on his way to a friend's funeral. Of his performance, Time magazine wrote that Wiseman "wears an expression of perpetual disgust, as if he were forever smelling fried ham … What picture there is for stealing is burgled by Wiseman with his portrayal of a stereotypical littérateur … As lofty as Edmund Wilson, he pronounces Jehovah-like judgments on literature and humanity."
Back in Canada for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), Wiseman played a Trotskyite owner of a blouse factory, who calls his nephew (Richard Dreyfuss) "a pushy Jewish boy".
On Broadway, Wiseman originated the role of LeDuc, a Jewish psychotherapist, in Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy (1964), who asserts that "the Jew is only the name we give to that stranger within everyone". Also on Broadway was his Drama Desk award-winning performance in the title role of In the Matter of J Robert Oppenheimer (1969).
Wiseman continued to be active on television throughout his career, notably in Crime Story (1986-88) as the menacing gang boss Manny Weisbord. In his later years, Wiseman would often give readings of Yiddish writers, and his last stage performance was in 2002 at a gala concert called Yiddish in America at the New York town hall. His last Broadway appearance had been the previous year, as a prosecution witness in Abby Mann's stage adaptation of his film drama Judgment at Nuremberg.
Wiseman's first marriage, to Nell Kennard, ended in divorce, and he is survived by his daughter, Martha, by that marriage, and his sister Ruth. His second wife, the dancer, teacher and choreographer Pearl Lang, died last February.
•Joseph Wiseman, actor, born 15 May 1918; died 19 October 2009