Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Robert Rietti

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Robert Rietti played James Bond's arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only (1981) when Roger Moore had a licence to kill. Sixteen years earlier, in Thunderball, when Sean Connery was 007, he had served as the urbane, sadistic villain Emilio Largo, who kept sharks as pets and used his enemies as fish food. And in You Only Live Twice (1967) he was on Bond's side when he took on the role of the Japanese secret service chief Tiger Tanaka.

    Rietti enjoyed a distinguished career in hundreds of films and television programmes, including such classics as Doctor Zhivago (1965), but in many of his biggest hits he never actually appeared on screen: Rietti supplied voices for actors whose own voices or accents were considered to be not quite what was required.

    The Sicilian actor Adolfo Celi looked the part as Bond villain Emilio Largo, complete with eye patch, but he struggled with English and spoke with a thick accent. Jack Hawkins was a huge star, but he had had throat cancer and in later years had an artificial voice box. Robert Shaw was also a big star, but his dialogue for the 1979 film Avalanche Express needed to be rerecorded and getting Shaw back was not an option, as he had died in the meantime.

    Rietti's father Vittorio was a distinguished Italian-Jewish actor who developed a career in theatre and latterly television in England, though he maintained links with his homeland. His son was born Lucio Herbert Rietti in the Paddington area of London in 1923. He created his own theatre in the family garage and put on plays for friends and his dog, Flossy.

    His father encouraged his acting ambitions and by the time he was 10 Rietti was already acting in theatre and films under the name Bobby Rietti. He played the character of Professor, the head of the boys' gang, in the 1935 family film Emil and the Detectives. He was in his mid-teens when the Second World War broke out and was locked up as an enemy alien, along with British fascists, one of whom tried to kill him. He was saved by the intervention of Italian gangsters. He subsequently joined a theatrical group that put on plays for the troops."

Share This Page