Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Actor Gottfried John Dies at 72

This is indeed a sad day for James Bond and GOLDENEYE fans. German actor Gottfried John, known for playing General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov in the 1995 film directed by Martin Campbell, has sadly passed away yesterday after battling to cancer.

With an incredible onscreen authority few actors could have shown, John made a memorable performance in GOLDENEYE, as a character who pushed the secret agent to a lot of risks and faced him off to a personal situation after the (faked) assasination of Bond's teammate and friend Alec Trevelyan, agent 006.

Born in Berlin on August 29, 1942, John had a troubled childhood on a children's home after his custody has been removed from his mother. He then escaped with the aid of his mother at 18 and moved to Paris, where he worked as a street painter and a construction worker until he went back to Berlin in 1962. It was in 1965 where, after some failed attempts to become an actor, he was finally cast in many stage plays as Robespierre or Richard III.

His career started to grow during the 1970s and 1980s when he moved to Munich and worked for director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in TV's EIGHT HOURS ARE NOT A DAY and films like WORLD ON A WIRE and MOTHER KUSTERS' GO TO HEAVEN.

When he was cast as a James Bond villain in GOLDENEYE, he noted: "I have tried to show the rise and fall of the Soviet Union in one person. In Bond films, the characters are relatively simple - so I have to add an additional dimension to it. I do not play important roles like that with perfect ease."

He would then play Julius Caesar in the 1999 production ASTERIX & OBELISK VS CAESAR, with Roberto Begnini, for whom he won a Bavarian Film Award.

"We'll be remembering Gottfried John as a great character actor, and as a humble person with a great heart", spoke today WDR Director Tom Buhrow.

Sources: Spiegel and The Bond Bulletin

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