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David Hedison
Hedison at the Big Apple Convention in 2009
Albert David Hedison Jr.

(1927-05-20)May 20, 1927
Died July 18, 2019(2019-07-18) (aged 92)
Other names Al Hedison
Occupation Actor
Years active 1949–2005
Bridget Mori Hedison
(m. 1968; her death 2016)
Children 2; including Alexandra

Albert David Hedison Jr. (May 20, 1927 – July 18, 2019) was an American film, television, and stage actor. He was billed as Al Hedison in his early film work until 1959 when he was cast in the role of Victor Sebastian in the short-lived espionage television series Five Fingers. NBC insisted that he change his name and he proposed his middle name; he was billed as David Hedison from then on. He was known for his roles as the titular character in The Fly (1958), Captain Lee Crane in the television science fiction drama Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964–1968), and CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films, Live and Let Die (1973) and Licence to Kill (1989).


Early life

He was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Albert David Hedison (Heditsian) Sr. and Rose Boghosian; both of whom were Armenian. Hedison decided he wanted to be an actor after he saw Tyrone Power in the film Blood and Sand.

He began his acting career with the Sock and Buskin Players at Brown University before moving to New York to study with Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.


He acted at Newport Casino Theatre. In 1951 he won a Barter Theatre Award for most promising young actor, entitling him to work at a theatre in Virginia. He did radio in North Carolina and worked on stage in Pittsburgh.

His work on the New York stage included an appearance in Much Ado About Nothing (1952). He was studying with Uta Hagen who recommended him for a role in the Broadway production of A Month in the Country (1956), directed by Michael Redgrave. It ran for 48 performances on Broadway. The Theatre World declared Hedison as one of the most promising theatre personalities of the 1955–56 season.

20th Century Fox

After his role in A Month in the Country, Hedison signed a film contract with 20th Century Fox in May 1957. His first movie with them was the classic war film The Enemy Below (1957), which also starred Robert Mitchum.

He followed that up with the lead role in the horror film The Fly (1958) with Vincent Price as his brother. Hedison got the role after Rick Jason turned it down. The film was very successful at the box office.

Hedison went to England to play the lead role in The Son of Robin Hood (1958).


Hedison was cast in the lead of a TV series made by Fox for NBC, Five Fingers (1959). He was reluctant to make it, especially when NBC insisted he change his first name (Al) to David (which was his middle name). The series lasted only one season.

Hedison had the lead role in an adventure film The Lost World (1960), directed by Irwin Allen.

Hedison guest starred on some Fox shows, Hong Kong and Bus Stop. He co-starred with Tom Tryon in Marines, Let's Go (1961).

Hedison worked regularly on television, guest starring in Perry Mason, Wonder Woman and The Farmer's Daughter. He co-starred in an episode of The Saint, starring Roger Moore who became a great friend. The episode's plot prophetically involves Moore's Saint mistaken for 007 and Hedison as an FBI agent — roles they would play seven years later as 007 and Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die. He was one of many stars in the film The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

David Hedison Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1965
Hedison as Lee Crane in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 1965.

After turning down the role of Captain Crane in the film version of Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Allen again offered the same role to him in the television series of the same name, co-starring with Richard Basehart, which ran from 1964 to 1968.

After Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea concluded, Hedison was offered the role of Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch, but turned it down, stating, "after four years of subs and monsters, who needs kids and dogs?" The role eventually went to Robert Reed.

Hedison moved to London. "I liked London very much," he later said. "I just wanted to go and spend a couple years there ... It's two years I'm not sorry for. The problem was, when I came back to the US, it was more difficult getting work then."

Hedison guest starred on Journey to the Unknown; Love, American Style; ITV Sunday Night Theatre; the BBC's Play of the Month; The F.B.I.; and The New Perry Mason. He could be seen in Kemek (1970), A Kiss Is Just a Kiss (1971), Crime Club (1973), The Cat Creature, and The Man in the Wood. He was most proud of doing an adaptation of Summer and Smoke with Lee Remick.

James Bond appearances

Hedison played Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die (1973), with his friend Roger Moore starring as the new James Bond. Bond scholars Pfeiffer and Worrall praised the friendship between Leiter and Bond for being depicted with "genuine chemistry" between the two.

Sixteen years later, Hedison returned to play Leiter in Licence to Kill (1989), with Bond now being portrayed by Timothy Dalton. Hedison became the first actor to reprise the role of Felix Leiter and is the only actor to play Leiter with two different James Bonds.

Hedison thought he was asked back because "there was much more to do in the film than in the past, and they were afraid of using an unknown or someone they were not quite sure of." "I think in this kind of film, it won't lead to other work unless you do something stand-out with a really wonderfully written scene," added Hedison. "Otherwise you're just doing a job, part of the ensemble. And in this case, I have lots of action scenes, but no one scene that is memorable ... Felix is a fairly one-dimensional character, you never get into any depth. You do what you can. There's not much to play. All you can do is perform it with a simple reality ... It was running around, bang bang, getting wet, screaming and yelling, and all kinds of fun, but not serious acting."


Hedison toured with Barbara Anderson and Anita Gillette in Neil Simon's Chapter Two in 1979 and 1980.

He could be seen in North Sea Hijack (1980), episodes of Charlie's Angels, Nero Wolfe, Hart to Hart, T. J. Hooker, Matt Houston, Amanda's, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Partners in Crime, The Fall Guy, The Love Boat, Simon & Simon, Double Trouble, Finder of Lost Loves, Knight Rider, Crazy Like a Fox, The A-Team, Trapper John, M.D., Hotel, The Colbys, Who's the Boss?, The Law & Harry McGraw, and Murder, She Wrote.

He was in The Awakening of Cassie for Romance Theatre, Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues and The Naked Face (1984) with Moore.

Hedison appeared in the West Coast premiere of Forty Deuce in 1985.

Later career

From 1991 to 1996, Hedison was a regular on the long-running soap opera Another World.

He also starred in the New York City premiere of First Love with Lois Nettleton in 1999. He returned to the Cape Playhouse to appear in Tale of the Allergist's Wife (2002), and at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre, in Love Letters with Nancy Dussault in 2007.

He had a role in The Young and the Restless and could be seen in The Reality Trap (2005).

In 2006, he acted in The Scent of Jasmine at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles on November 13. In 2008, Hedison performed Uncle Vanya at the Actors Studio West. He also participated in performances of The Cherry Orchard and I Never Sang for My Father in Los Angeles in 2009. He later appeared in The Marriage Play by Edward Albee.

He was in Superman and the Secret Planet and Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk.

Personal life

He and his wife Bridget were married in London on June 29, 1968. Bridget Hedison died of breast cancer on February 22, 2016. They had two daughters, actor/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison and editor/producer Serena Hedison. Alexandra Hedison has appeared in L.A. Firefighters and The L Word and is married to actress and director Jodie Foster.

He died on July 18, 2019, at his home in Los Angeles.



Year Title Role Notes
1957 The Enemy Below Lt. Ware
1958 The Fly Andre Delambre
1958 The Son of Robin Hood Jamie
1958 Rally Round the Flag, Boys! Narrator Voice, Uncredited
1960 The Lost World Ed Malone
1961 Marines, Let's Go Pfc. Dave Chatfield
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told Philip
1970 Kemek Nick
1973 Live and Let Die Felix Leiter
1980 North Sea Hijack Robert King
1984 The Naked Face Dr. Peter Hadley
1986 Smart Alec Frank Wheeler
1989 Licence to Kill Felix Leiter
1990 Undeclared War US Ambassador
1999 Fugitive Mind Senator Davis Direct-to-video
2001 Mach 2 Stuart Davis
2001 Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 Daniel Alexander
2004 Spectres William
2005 The Reality Trap Morgan Jameson
2013 Superman and the Secret Planet Jor-El Direct-to-video
2017 Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk Interviewee #2 (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Danger Episode: "Padlocks"
1955 Kraft Television Theatre Episode: "Eleven O'Clock Flight"
1956 Star Tonight Episode: "The Mirthmaker"
1959–1960 Five Fingers Victor Sebastian 16 episodes
1961 Hong Kong Roger Ames Episode: "Lesson in Fear"
1961 Bus Stop Max Hendricks Episode: "Call Back Yesterday"
1962 Perry Mason Damion White Episode: "The Case of the Dodging Domino"
1964 The Saint Bill Harvey Episode: "Luella"
1964 The Farmer's Daughter Richard Barden Episode: "The Mink Machine"
1964–1968 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Captain Lee Crane 110 episodes
1967 Hollywood Squares Himself 5 episodes
1967 The Mike Douglas Show Himself 1 episode
1967 The Merv Griffin Show Himself 1 episode
1968 Journey to the Unknown William Searle Episode: "Somewhere in a Crowd"
1969 Love, American Style Rob Segment: "Love and the Other Love"
1971 A Kiss Is Just a Kiss Kit Shaeffer Television film
1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Bill Kromin Episode: "A Man About a Dog"
1972 Play of the Month John Buchanan Episode: "Summer and Smoke"
1972–1973 The F.B.I. Scott Jordan / Lou Forrester 2 episodes
1973 Crime Club Nick Kelton Television film
1973 The Cat Creature Prof. Roger Edmonds Television film
1973 The New Perry Mason Calvin Ryan Episode: "The Case of the Frenzied Feminist"
1973 The Man in the Wood Edmund Hardy Television film
1973–1975 Cannon David Farnum / John Sandler / Gordon Bell 3 episodes
1974 Shaft Gil Kirkwood Episode: "The Capricorn Murders"
1974 Medical Center Dave Episode: "Dark Warning"
1974 The Wide World of Mystery Herbert Kasson Episode: "Murder Impossible"
1974 The Compliment Steve Barker Television film
1974 The Manhunter Jeffrey Donnenfield Episode: "The Man Who Thought He Was Dillinger"
1974 The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Clay Episode: "Can I Save My Children?"
1975 For the Use of the Hall Allen Television film
1975 Adventures of the Queen Dr. Peter Brooks Television film
1975 The Lives of Jenny Dolan Dr. Wes Dolan Television film
1975 The Art of Crime Parker Sharon Television film
1975 Bronk Lyle Brewster Episode: "Betrayal"
1976 Ellery Queen Roger Woods Episode: "The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer"
1976 Family Peter Towne 2 episodes
1977 Barnaby Jones Paul Nugent Episode: "The Deadly Charade"
1977 Murder in Peyton Place Steven Cord Television film
1977 Wonder Woman Evan Robley Episode: "The Queen and the Thief"
1977 Gibbsville Episode: "The Grand Gesture"
1977–1985 The Love Boat Cliff Jacobs / Barry Singer / Bradford York / Allan Christensen / Sherman / Buddy Stanfield 7 episodes
1978 The Bob Newhart Show Steve Darnell Episode: "It Didn't Happen One Night"
1978 Project U.F.O. Frederick Flanagan Episode: "Sighting 4011: The Dollhouse Incident"
1978 Colorado C.I. David Royce Television film
1978 Flying High Glen Dodson Episode: "High Rollers"
1978–1981 Charlie's Angels John Thornwood / Carter Gillis 2 episodes
1978–1984 Fantasy Island Daniel Garman / Phillip Camden / Captain John Day / David Tabori / Karl Dixon / Claude Duncan / Carlyle Cranston 6 episodes
1979 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Ashpenaz Episode: "Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar"
1979 The Power Within Danton Television film
1979 Benson John Taylor Episode: "Pilot"
1981 Nero Wolfe Phillip Corrigan Episode: "Murder by the Book"
1982 Hart to Hart Miles Wiatt Episode: "Hart of Diamonds"
1982 T. J. Hooker Saxon Episode: "The Protectors"
1982 Romance Theatre Marc 4 episodes
1982 Matt Houston Pierre Cerdan Episode: "Recipe for Murder"
1982–1985 The Fall Guy Monte Sorrenson / Milo / Jordan Stevens 3 episodes
1983 Amanda's David Episode: "All in a Day's Work"
1983 Dynasty Sam Dexter 2 episodes
1983 Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues Carson Television film
1984 Partners in Crime Davidson Episode: "Fantasyland"
1985 Simon & Simon Austin Tyler 2 episodes
1985 Double Trouble David Burke Episode: "September Song"
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Neil Palmer Episode: "Haunted Memories"
1985 Knight Rider Theodore Cooper Episode: "Knight in Retreat"
1985 A.D. Porcius Festus Television miniseries
1985 Crazy Like a Fox Ed Galvin Episode: "Eye in the Sky"
1985 The A-Team David Vaughn Episode: "Mind Games"
1985 Trapper John, M.D. Miles Warner Episode: "The Second Best Man"
1985–1987 Hotel Dr. Howard Bentley / Jack Fitzpatrick 2 episodes
1985–1987 The Colbys Roger Langdon 9 episodes
1986–1989 Murder, She Wrote Victor Casper / Victor Caspar / Mitch Payne 3 episodes
1987 Who's the Boss? Jim Ratcliff Episode: "Mona"
1987 The Law & Harry McGraw Blake Devaroe Episode: "Mr. Chapman, I Presume?"
1992 Another World Spencer Harrison
2004 The Young and the Restless Arthur Hendricks 50 episodes

See also

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