Stuntman George Leech died on Sunday at the not-too-shabby age of 91. He finds himself mentioned on a small and insignificant movie blog thanks to his key role as a shaper of many of the action scenes which have fed my love of James Bond films since before I knew what Pussy Galore meant.
Leech performed stunts in eleven Bond films between 1962 and 1985, doubling for George Lazenby and Roger Moore, and frequently finding himself on the wrong end of Sean Connery's fist or cast as doomed minions like "Henchman Shark Victim" in For Your Eyes Only. He was also the first in a long line of Q-Branch boffins to be a guineapig for a new gadget, demonstrating a bullet-proof vest (and a magnificent moustache) in Goldfinger. For me, though, his career high will always be as stunt arranger on On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in which he orchestrated some of the most convincing and thrilling fight scenes in Bond's history.
So rest in peace George, and thank you. BlogalongaBond is partly your fault.
"I think the key to the Bond pictures' success is superb action, good characters, good writing. And it is the action which has to be realistic, and genuine." - George Leech