Bernard Lee

John Bernard Lee (10 January 1908 – 16 January 1981), better known as Bernard Lee, was an English actor, best known for his role as M in the first eleven James Bond films. Lee's career spanned 1934 to 1979, beginning on stage at the age of six. He was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Although best remembered for the Bond series, he appeared in over one hundred films, as well as on stage and television dramatisations. Lee was known for his roles as authority figures, often playing military characters or policemen and highlights in his career included The Third Man, The Blue Lamp, The Battle of the River Plate and Whistle Down the Wind. He died on 17 January 1981, at age 73 after suffering from stomach cancer. Lee was born on 10 January 1908, the son of Nellie (née Smith) and Edmund James Lee. He was born in either Cork in what is now the Republic of Ireland, or Brentford, London. Lee's father was also an actor and Bernard's first appearance on stage in 1914, at the age of six, was with his father in a sketch called "The Double Event" at the Oxford Music Hall in London. Lee attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, working as a fruit porter to pay his fees.


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