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Famous Actors You Forgot Showed Up In James Bond Movies

With nearly thirty films under its belt, the James Bond franchise has always been about more than simply who is rocking the license to kill.

Every 007 — from Connery to Lazenby, Craig to Moore, Dalton to Brosnan — has been surrounded by substantial supporting stars. Sometimes, they are great character actors; other times, they are on-the-rise superstars; sometimes, they're even A-listers in their own right, eager to participate in the proud Bond tradition. From Donald Pleasance as the villainous, scar-faced Blofeld to Monica Bellucci's brief Bond Girl stint in "Spectre" to Minnie Driver, David Harbour, Halle Berry and Benicio del Toro, the names on the Bond marquee are only amplified by those further down the credits.

Perhaps you remember the scene. Or with many of those listed below, perhaps you need a refresher. Either way, here are some big-name stars who whose presence in the Bond franchise is easy to overlook.

Charles Gray as Dikko Henderson

The 1967 flick "You Only Live Twice," also known as "the Bond film where Sean Connery goes undercover as a Japanese fisherman," sees the nefarious international organization SPECTRE up to its old tricks. Namely: stealing space crafts from the United States and the USSR, in the hopes that they will blame one another and kick off World War III. 

Tasked with foiling the plot before the nukes start flying, Bond (Sean Connery) skips off to Tokyo on the suspicion of Japanese involvement. As soon as he touches down on foreign soil, he's quickly introduced to MI6's man on the ground: Dikko Henderson, an expat who has called Japan his home for thirty years. A wealth of information and a real classy fellow, it is Henderson who points Bond in the direction of future ally Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tanba) and the presence of a mysterious, potentially culpable spacecraft. Henderson's brief appearance is further distinguished by the fact that he's played by none other than "Rocky Horror Picture Show" presence Charles Gray.

Outside of two Bond film appearances (he would go on to play Blofeld in "Diamonds Are Forever"), Gray is best known for his role as the narrator/criminologist in the 1975 Tim Curry/Susan Sarandon cult hit to end all cult hits. Gray also made appearances in a variety of beloved British horror flicks, including 1974's "The Beast Must Die" and the Hammer Horror classic "The Devil Rides Out." With his strikingly precise voice and piercing blue eyes, Gray's presence was always a delight, right up to his 2000 passing. Even if Henderson didn't know how to properly shake a martini.

Sid Haig as Slumber Inc. Attendant

Far and away the goofiest entry in Connery's tenure as 007, 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" sees Bond whisked off to Las Vegas to investigate a diamond smuggling operation that may or may not have ties to his arch rival Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray, in this film). Impersonating a known diamond hawker named Peter Franks, Bond travels to Slumber Inc. headquarters, a smuggling front masquerading as a funeral home. Bond's investigation is ultimately thwarted by the arrival of the dynamic (and unfathomably greasy) duo of Mssrs. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Kidd (Putter Smith). But before the assassins attempt to cremate the international man of mystery, Bond is picked up at the airport by a trio of dour henchmen ... uh ... funeral home assistants.

Horror fans who have been tricked into watching a Bond film will no doubt already have their interest piqued by this morbid twist in an otherwise glitzy story. And the keen-eyed viewer will also be treated by an unexpected appearance by Sid Haig. Yes, amongst that trio of definitely-not-henchmen you'll spy the pockmarked visage of a genre film great. Haig even gets to set Bond up for the best quip in the scene: "I got a brother," Haig remarks, in response to Bond's lie that the diamond-filled stiff he's escorting is his sibling. "Small world," retorts Bond.

Haig of course, played charming, devious Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses" and its sequels "The Devil's Rejects," and "3 From Hell." He also made his mark in the cult hit "Spider Baby," played lecherous prisoner NCH in George Lucas' debut feature "THX 1138," and had over 150 acting credits in a 60-year-long career. Haig died in 2019.

Laurence Naismith as Sir. Donald Munger

There are a number of "big" cameos in "Diamonds are Forever," the Las Vegas-set Bond film that feels the way shag carpet looks. Of this coterie of famous-for-their-time folks — including country music star Jimmy Dean, Bruce Glover (father of Crispin), and jazz legend Putter Smith — one name emerges as a true "blink-and-you'll miss it" moment. That's right: Laurence Naismith, veteran Hollywood star of films like "Village of the Damned," "A Night to Remember" and "Jason and the Argonauts."

Naismith appears as Sir Donald Munger, the chairman of the diamond syndicate who tips the British Secret Service off that somebody is trying to mess with the global price of diamonds. 

The UK-born actor played the curmudgeonly sailor Argos in the 1963 Ray Harryhausen classic "Jason and the Argonauts." But Naismith's kindly visage can also be spotted in the Titanic dramatization "A Night to Remember" and in the original big-screen adaptation of "Village of the Damned." With such a brief, sensible role in a film that goes off the rails quicker than a train covered in petroleum jelly, it's easy to see how folks (even those in the know) could fail to clock Naismith's appearance.

Charles Dance as Claus

In 1981's "For Your Eyes Only," everyone's favorite super spy is hot on the heels of more Soviet shenanigans. A British intelligence ship has sunk under suspicious circumstances, taking an all-important encryption device with it to the bottom of the sea. It's up to Bond (Roger Moore) and his allies to recover the machine before the Russians can crack the launch codes. Along the way, Bond runs afoul of Greek smuggler/KGB operative Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover, no relation to Crispin), who, like any Bond villain worth his salt, has many henchmen. 

Amongst his gaggle of steely-eyed contract killers is Claus, portrayed by English actor Charles Dance. Claus makes a gallant attempt to end Bond's life on behalf of his employer, chasing Bond on a motorcycle, through a biathlon event, off an Olympic ski jump, on a hockey rink, and with the aid of dune buggies. You really have to give Claus top marks for his dedication to his craft. But, for all his enthusiasm, Claus ends up on the wrong end of a harpoon gun. 

Readers will most likely recognize Dance for his role on HBO's "Game of Thrones," where he played the Machiavellian Lannister patriarch Tywin. Dance's prolific career is also distinguished by his role as Raymond Stockbridge in the 2001 murder-mystery "Gosford Park" and Commander Denniston in the 2014 biopic "The Imitation Game." Dance's role as Claus marked the actor's first on-screen performance in a feature film — and, in a fun twist, Dance would go on to portray Bond scribe Ian Fleming in the 1989 TV movie "Goldeneye."

Dolph Lundgren as Venz

"A View to a Kill" was an appropriately bombastic end to Moore's often over-the-top run as James Bond. Released in 1985, "A View to a Kill" has 007 squaring off against Max Zorin (a bleached blonde Christopher Walken),who wants to eliminate his competition in Silicon Valley by triggering a massive earthquake. Joining Max in his banana-pants quest to corner the microchip market is his statuesque paramour/assassin May Day, portrayed by actress/singer/earthly goddess Grace Jones.

Grace Jones famously dated "Rocky IV" star Dolph Lundgren during the 1980s. As the story goes, it's because of Jones that Lundgren entered Hollywood in the first place. He was smitten, both with her and show business, and ditched his chemical engineering scholarship at MIT for the limelight.

"A View to a Kill" premiered in 1985, several months before "Rocky IV" would turn Lundgren into a household name, making the Bond film Lundgren's first, albeit brief, on-screen performance. Lundgren appears as General Gogol's KGB bodyguard, Venz, who lurks in the background while the general threatens Walken's Zorin for going rogue. Lundgren landed the role because he happened to be on set (supporting then-girlfriend Jones) when a henchman was called for. He and Jones even share an intimidating stare as Venz checks the vitals on another jobber with which May Day has had her way.

Benicio Del Toro as Dario

Dalton's last film as 007, 1989's "License to Kill" has him out for revenge against the drug dealer (Robert Davi) who killed his best friend's wife. How is he going to get even, you ask? By gaining the trust and befriending said drug dealer, of course. And while the charms of Timothy Dalton work wonders on the sadistic, iguana-loving cartel boss, one of his goons is less easily swayed.

Yes, that greasy, dark continence belongs to none other than Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro, who portrays the unpredictable Dario in 1989's "License to Kill." Brutal and sadistic, while he is acting on his boss' orders it was Dario who enacted the horrific crimes against Felix Leiter's bride, Della. The next time the audience sees Dario, he's shooting Bond girl Pam Bouvier in the back, quite literally. In the end, the final encounter with Dario is in the finale at the cartel's cocaine factory, where after a scuffle with Bond, the goon is slowly lowered into an industrial grinder. It's an appropriately grisly death for one of the most unambiguously evil characters in the Bond universe.  

Del Toro, of course, would go on to become a prominent star in late '90s/post-2000s cinema. From Denis Villeneuve's "Sicario" to the 1995 thriller "The Usual Suspects" to "Sin City," "The Wolfman," "The Hunted," "Traffic" and a recurring role as The Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he sure has come a long way. His role in "License to Kill" marked Del Toro's second theatrical credit, after appearing as Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in 1988's "Big Top Pee-wee."

Minnie Driver as Irina

Ringing in the Pierce Brosnan era, 1995's "GoldenEye" pitted Bond against an old friend, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a former 00 agent incorrectly presumed dead. Like any self-respecting Bond villain, Trevelyan has his sights set on a satellite system with terrifying destructive capabilities (like, push a button and blow up the civilized world, kind of capabilities). Trevelyan's allies are many, including but not limited to a leather-clad sadist-assassin who kills men with her thighs and a sticky hacker named Boris.

Luckily for him, Brosnan's Bond has friends of his own ... including Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane). An ex-KGB intelligence officer turned caviar-slurping mafioso, Bond visits Zukovsky's nightclub in Saint Petersburg to arrange a meeting with the nefarious Janus organization. At the club, Bond sees (and, to his dismay, hears) the burlesque performance of Irina, Zukovsky's mistress. Dressed as a cowgirl and demonstrating admirable enthusiasm despite being totally tone-deaf, Irina serves as little more than a punchline. But if you can tear your eyes away from the bedazzled cowboy hat, you'll be treated to the realization that yes, that is indeed British actress/singer-songwriter Minnie Driver up there on stage.

Driver wouldn't become a household name until "Good Will Hunting" a couple of years later; at this point in her career, Driver's only big-screen credit was the 1995 coming of age drama "Circle of Friends."

Gerard Butler as Leading Seaman

In "Tomorrow Never Dies," Pierce Brosnan's second cinematic outing as James Bond, the suave super spy is up against the megalomaniacal media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce). Like many Bond villains before him, Carver intends to stage a series of international crises for financial gain. Tasked with neutralizing a potential conflict between China and the United Kingdom, 007 and Chinese agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) team up to put an end to Carver's reign of terror.

Take a closer look at the leading seaman of the HMS Devonshire, and you might notice a familiar face. Appearing during the chaotic scene in which Carver sinks the frigate stationed in the South China Sea is Gerard Butler, whose thick Scottish accent is hard to ignore. 

Butler kicked his way into the popular consciousness in 2006 with "300," then went on to headline the likes of "Gamer," "The Phantom of the Opera," "P.S. I Love You" and "RocknRolla." His brief work in this 1997 Bond film marked the actor's second on-screen appearance (the first being earlier that year in "Mrs. Brown," alongside fellow Bond actor Dame Judi Dench). 

Michael Madsen as Damian Falco

Pierce Brosnan's final outing as 007, "Die Another Day" had the international super spy staring down the barrel of yet another villainous laser scheme, this one enacted by a North Korean leader who has undergone cutting-edge genetic and surgical procedures to assume the identity of a British billionaire (Toby Stephens). Throw in an ice palace and a solar-powered super weapon and you've got yourself one heck of a goofy espionage thrill ride.

Pay close attention, or you might miss "Reservoir Dogs" actor Michael Madsen. The actor appears as Damian Falco, a Bond ally and NSA Chief who works alongside MI6 to take down the threat of a giant, sun-powered, space laser. He's snippy, cool-tempered, and generally a fun presence on screen.

Sure, the role of a high-ranking Bond ally with ties to the American government sounds a lot like Felix Leiter, and the intent was to have Falco assume a similar narrative purpose, but Brosnan's tenure as Bond came to a halt after "Die Another Day," the 007 franchise went cold until it was grittily rebooted with 2006's "Casino Royale," and by then the decision was made to bring back Leiter (this time played by Jeffrey Wright), spelling the end for Madsen's time in the realm of Bond.

Tobias Menzies as Villiers

2006's "Casino Royale" sees a newly-blonde Bond (Daniel Craig) on his first mission as a double-oh agent. Tasked with taking down the weepy-eyed Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a banker to terrorists, it's up to Bond to win a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro to stop the nefarious ne'er-do-well from gaining funds that will allow him to control the market. With the mysterious Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) at his side, Bond must literally play his cards right to survive the tournament and save the day.

With all the parkour and gritty Jason Bourne-ification going on, you'd be forgiven from failing to clock every detail in Craig's first cinematic outing as 007. These include the presence of British small-screen mainstay Tobias Menzies

The London actor is best-known for his role as Marcus Junius Brutus in HBO's "Rome" and as the doomed captain James Fitzjames in AMC's "The Terror." Menzies can also be spotted in "Game of Thrones," as Edmure Tully and in "Outlander" as Jack/Frank Randall.

As Villiers, M's assistant, Menzies effectively occupies the same occupational plane as Moneypenny and Bill Tanner. Menzies' Villiers pops up intermittently throughout the film: first, accompanying M in her debrief of Bond's shenanigans in Madagascar, then over the phone alerting M to Bond's unorthodox attempts to investigate Le Chiffre. The final glimpse of Villiers is of the poor man gagging and suppressing vomit at the sight of Solange's rotting corpse. Presumably, Villiers' weak stomach is why he was replaced with Vanessa in "Skyfall."

David Harbour as Gregg Beam

Picking up where its predecessor "Casino Royale" left off, 2008's "Quantum of Solace" has a brooding 007 (Craig) drowning his grief at the bottom of several martini glasses, then setting off on a brutal quest to get his revenge for those responsible for Vesper's death. His path of drunken destruction sees Bond on the trail of the sinister organization that blackmailed the love of his life, led by the nefarious Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).

As Bond soon learns, Greene has ties with the corrupt CIA section chief for South America, Gregg Beam. Beam's motive, broadly put, is to turn a blind eye to the Bolivian coup Greene is orchestrating in exchange for (a presumed) supply of oil. A corrupt pragmatist willing to get his hands dirty to turn a profit, Beam's corruption doesn't sit well with his underling (and franchise-long Bond ally) Felix Leiter (Wright). He may look like Ned Flanders, but Beam's callous willingness to muddy international waters for personal gain is the hallmark of a tried-and-true Bond villain.

Somewhere under that enormous broom of a mustache, you may recognize American actor David Harbour. While the performer is best known for his role as Jim Hopper on Netflix's supernatural teen drama "Stranger Things," he's been kicking around the big screen since the early 2000s. Harbour makes appearances in the likes of "Brokeback Mountain" and "Revolutionary Road." More recently, he starred in the 2019 "Hellboy" reboot and Marvel's 2021 film "Black Widow."