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 Desmond Llewelyn

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Desmond Llewelyn

  • Birth 12 Sep 1914 Monmouthshire, Wales
  • Death 19 Dec 1999 Firle, Lewes District, East Sussex, England
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
  • Memorial ID 8354

Welsh Actor. He is best remembered for his role of British Agent Q, in 17 of the first 19 James Bond movies. Of the first 19 Bond films, he did not appear in only two: "Doctor No" (1963) and "Live and Let Die" (1973). Born Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn in Newport, Wales, UK, he was the son of a coal mining engineer. Originally discouraged on an acting career by his parents, he was insistent upon becoming an actor, and eventually got his parents to allow him to attend the Royal Academy for the Dramatic Arts. He began as a stagehand in the school's productions while picking up small bit parts. After graduation, he found work in the London Theater circuit and began to develop a small career in the mid-1930s. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Llewelyn joined the British Army, and was soon commissioned a second lieutenant, serving in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Deployed to France with his regiment, he was captured in the massive German attack on France in May-June 1940, and spent the remainder of the war as a Prisoner of War in Germany. While in his POW camp, he would participate in acting roles with the other prisoners, putting on entertainment shows, and polished his acting skills. When he was finally liberated in 1945 by the American Army, he returned to Great Britain to resume his theatrical career. In 1963, he was selected to play the role of Q, in the James Bond film, "From Russia With Love," and has appeared in every James Bond film except one other, until his death in 1999. That one exception, "Live and Let Die" (1973), he was left out because the producers wanted to deemphasize the gadgets that James Bond used. Audience demand recalled him, and he never left the role. Ironically, in a May 1999 television interview shortly before his death, Llewelyn admitted that technological gadgets always left him a bit lost. He also admitted that of the five official James Bonds (to that point), he felt that actor Timothy Dalton was the closest to the way author Ian Fleming wrote the agent in the James Bond books. Llewelyn was married in 1938 to Pamela Llewelyn, his only wife, who remained married to him his entire life. On December 19, 1999, he was severely injured while driving home from a booksigning to promote his biography, "Q": The Biography of Desmond Llewelyn" (written in cooperation by his close family friend, Sandy Hernu), when his car collided head-on with another on the A27 road near the village of Berwick, East Sussex. Taken to the local hospital, he died shortly after his arrival there. After his death, his Q role was taken by actor John Cleese, who played the role of Agent R, an assistant to Q in the 007 movie "The World is Not Enough" (1999) and was promoted to head of Q Branch in the next 007 movie "Die Another Day" (2002), thus reprising the title Q.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 30 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8354
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Desmond Llewelyn (12 Sep 1914–19 Dec 1999), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8354, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.