Cubby Broccoli (1909-1996)
Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli was the producer of all the James Bond films up throught GoldenEye.
By Matt Spetalnick
LOS ANGELES (Reuter) / June 28, 1996 -- Legendary filmmaker Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, who brought James Bond to life on the big screen and produced 17 box-office hits based on the British superspy's exploits, has died. He was 87.
Broccoli, who had been in declining health in recent years suffering from heart problems, died peacefully Thursday at his Beverly Hills home, his production company said Friday.
Descended from Italian horticulturists who crossed the cauliflower with rabe to create a vegetable that bears the family name, Broccoli will go down in history himself as the mastermind behind the hugely successful Bond franchise.
Broccoli was a longtime fan of Ian Fleming's spy novels, but his big break came when he convinced the United Artists studio to put up $1 million for the 1962 film adaptation of Dr. No, his first installment in the 007 saga.
Legend has it that Broccoli's wife, Dana, looking at audition films, picked little-known actor Sean Connery out of the lineup, saying: "Take that one! He's gorgeous!" The film made Connery an international star, and since then the adventures of the suave secret agent have brought in more than $1 billion at the box office.
As word of Broccoli's death spread, tribute poured in. Said actor Roger Moore, who starred in 7 Bond films: "He was a fine human being, an extremely talented producer, loved by every single member of any crew he employed."
Actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played "Q," the high-tech genius who invented gadgets for Bond, said: "He was the most gentle, thoughtful, lovely man and I will miss him very much."
"The Bond legacy will not stop with Broccoli's death," said screenwriter John Cork, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation. "Every major action star from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Bruce Willis owes a debt to him."
And even without Broccoli, the show will go on. Broccoli's daughter Barbara and stepson Michael Wilson -- co-producers of last year's Bond blockbuster GoldenEye-- already have the next installment, so far unnamed, in its early stages.
Born on Long Island, New York, the son of an Italian immigrant farmer, Broccoli was nicknamed "Cubby" for his childhood resemblance to a round-faced comic-strip character.
As a restless young man, he left the family vegetable farm to seek his fortune in Hollywood. His first job was as a lowly production assistant responsible for waking up the extras on the Western film The Outlaw.
Working his way up through the ranks, he became an independent producer. His first film was the 1953 movie The Red Beret starring Alan Ladd. Attracted by the government subsidies available to filmmakers in Britain, Broccoli moved there and founded Warwick Pictures with partner Irving Allen.
He was by then a powerful figure in show business. Billionaire Howard Hughes befriended him, and Cary Grant was best man at his wedding.
But Broccoli's breakthrough came in 1962 when after a brief meeting and a handshake, United Artists president Arthur Krim agreed to back Dr. No, which was made in collaboration with Harry Salzman. The story of a bed-hopping, martini-drinking secret agent with a license to kill was an instant hit with moviegoers worldwide.
The Broccoli-Saltzman partnership dissolved in 1976, but Broccoli kept the rights to produce new installments, the latest last year when Pierce Brosnan debuted as Bond in GoldenEye.
Dr. No was followed by From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.
Broccoli has been credited with developing the Bond recipe for success -- exotic locations, colorful villains, dazzling gadgetry and beautiful, scantily clad women.
Outside the Bond genre, Broccoli's other films included Fire Down Below, The Trials of Oscar Wilde and >Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on Fleming's children's story.
Broccoli was honored with the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award for career achievement at the 1982 Academy Awards and the Order of the British Empire in 1987.
By Jeff Wilson
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) / June 28, 1996 -- Hollywood producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli, whose 17 James Bond movies matched suave 007 with beautiful women, diabolical villains and gee-whiz gadgets for three thrilling decades, has died at 87.
Broccoli died Thursday at his Beverly Hills home. He had undergone heart bypass surgery a year ago.
The James Bond movies, inspired by the Ian Fleming novels about the urbane British spy, is the most successful, longest-running film series of all time.
Broccoli successfully kept the entertaining packages of adventure, sex, posh backgrounds, gadgetry and wit coming even though the actor playing Bond changed several times and the supply of Fleming novels was exhausted.
Broccoli and co-producer Harry Saltzman began the Bond series in 1962 with Dr. No. It is said that Broccoli's wife, looking at audition films, saw the then-unknown Sean Connery on the screen and said, "Take that one! He's gorgeous!"
The film made Connery a star, and he continued as Bond in films such as From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball.
But Connery and Broccoli eventually had a falling out that included a bitter court battle in 1984 and 1985 over profits from James Bond movies.
"My previous differences with Cubby Broccoli were well-known, but I recently took the opportunity to make my peace with him. I'm extremely sorry to hear of the loss. He will be missed," Connery said in a statement.
Broccoli and Saltzman parted ways in 1976, and Broccoli maintained the rights to produce the Bond series on his own. The films that followed included For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and Licence to Kill.
Through the years, Bond has also been played by Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby. Connery's last turn as Bond was Never Say Never Again, 1983.
"I have lost a dear friend," Moore said. "Cubby was my friend for 35 years, and for 14 of those he was my producer. We never had an argument or a disagreement."
The most Bond film was last year's GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan. "Not a day went by during the making of GoldenEye that I didn't think of Cubby, and we wanted it to be the success it was for him. I'm deeply saddened that he's gone," Brosnan said in a statement.
Born in New York, Broccoli was an agronomist before entering the film business. It was in the family: Ancestors in Italy crossed cauliflower with Italian rabe to create the vegetable that bears their family name.
In 1938 he became an assistant director at 20th Century Fox. In the early 1950s, he moved to England, where he founded Warwick Pictures with Irving Allen. His first film as a producer came in 1953 with Red Beret, starring Alan Ladd. The movie was released in the United States as Paratrooper.
Broccoli also got into thoroughbred racing with Allen in England in the 1950s, when they owned Derisley Wood farm near Newmarket. Broccoli's most successful horse was Brocco, who captured such major stakes races as the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1993 and the 1994 Santa Anita Derby. In addition to his wife, Dana, Broccoli is survived by 2 daughters, a son, a stepson and 5 grandchildren.
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