Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


Desmond Llewelyn

Desmond Llewelyn

Attended almost every Bond premiere in Norway.

Despite being the longest recurring actor in the 007 franchise, appearing in 17 films, his on screen time is only a little more than 30 minutes in total.

Died shortly after the release of The World Is Not Enough (1999).

Father of Justin Lewellyn.

Had intended to retire from acting with The World Is Not Enough (1999), since he was 84 at the time of filming.



He appeared in the "The Big Breakfast" (1999) in early December 1999.

He died after he was driving home from a booksigning to promote his autobiography in East Sussex and his car collided head-on with another.

His largest role as Q was in Licence to Kill (1989).

Holds the distinction of being in more James Bond movies than anyone else: he appeared in his role as "Q"/"Major Boothroyd" in 17 James Bond movies. Coincidentally, Q is also the 17th letter of the modern English alphabet.

In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), while posing as an Avis car representative in Hamburg, Germany, Q's name badge reads 'Quinten Quigley'.

Ironically, he admitted on Ireland's Gerry Ryan Radio Show in May 1999 that he, "Q" (aka Major Boothroyd), personally detested gadgets.

Is the only actor to have worked with all 5 official James Bonds. Before his death, he had stated that he thought Timothy Dalton was the closest to Ian Fleming's vision of Bond.

Llewelyn was not the first choice for the role of "Q." Actor Peter Burton played the role of Major Boothroyd (later known as "Q"), in Dr. No (1962), the first in the '007' series. Burton was unavailable when the second movie From Russia with Love (1963) was filmed. The part went instead to Llewelyn and remained his for 16 more productions until his death in 1999. Llewelyn did not play "Q" was in Live and Let Die (1973). Producers felt too much attention was being paid on the gadgetry so they downplayed it by cutting his role. However, audiences enjoyed the role of "Q" so much that Llewelyn was brought back indefinitely. He did not appear in Never Say Never Again (1983) with Sean Connery, as this was not an official EON production. The part of "Q" was played by Alec McCowen instead.

On why he disliked Americans: In World War II, Desmond was rescued from a German POW camp by an American GI. When he told the soldier he'd been there for five years, the American replied, "Aw, cut it out. War's only been on for three years," forgetting that it was only the United States that had been at war for three years. Upon telling his story to Ian Bulloch, an American stuntman on the set of Thunderball (1965), Bulloch replied, "Maybe the Yank should've left you there!".

Over the years, he created his own back story for the character of 'Q' by wearing different ties belonging to various clubs and institutions. Accordingly, 'Q' was educated at Radley (as was Llewelyn), where he excelled in rugby, cricket and rowing. Afterwards he attended Trinity college in Cambridge (like one of Desmond's sons), before settling down in Gwent. Furthermore, 'Q' played cricket for the MCC, rugby for Newport and became an honorary member of the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

The DVD of "Doctor Who - Tomb Of The Cybermen" reveals that he was unsuccessfully sought for the role of Prof Parry (played by Aubrey Richards).

Wife Pamela passed away in East Sussex in 2001, aged 88.


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