Live and Let Die Cast
Roger Moore as James Bond
Yaphet Kotto as Dr Kananga / Mr Big
Jane Seymour as Solitaire
Julius W. Harris as Tee Hee Johnson
Geoffrey Holder as Baron Samedi
Clifton James as Sheriff J.W. Pepper
Gloria Hendry as Rosie Carver
David Hedison as Felix Leiter
Bernard Lee as M
Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny
Madeline Smith as Miss Caruso
Earl Jolly Brown as Whisper
Roger Moore’s First Outing as 007 Backed by a Memorable Cast
The star studded Live and Let Die cast introduced more than Roger Moore, as we also saw the first black Bond villain and Bond girl as in a plot centred around the voodoo world of San Monique and New Orleans and the drug world of Harlem.
Live and Let Die is the 8th installment in the James Bond franchise, released in 1973. As well as Moore, Yaphet Kotto was a more grounded villain with realistic aims, while Jane Seymour rendered her iconic role as tarot reader, Solitaire.
The plot sees Bond travel to the US and San Monique to investigate the murder of three MI6 agents. Mr. Big, a powerful drug lord played by Yaphet Kotto, who’s operating out of New York and New Orleans, and is somehow connected to San Monique dictator Dr. Kananga.
Bond travels back and forth between all three locations as he discovers Mr Big is actually the San Monique dictator, whose aim is to control the American heroin trade.
It was Roger Moore’s first performance as Bond and although he arguably starred in better Bond films, it was a great start to his tenure. Kotto was criticised by some at the time as Kananga’s plan was too realistic with no plans for world domination, but the actor played an imposing and powerful role.
Solitaire is Kananga’s tarot reading psychic. Played by the beautiful Jane Seymour, Solitaire can see into the future through her tarot cards. She predicts Bond’s moves for her boss until she’s tricked into bed by Bond, who then becomes his aid in helping bring down Kananga’s drug empire.
Former Bunny Girl, Gloria Hendry plays Rosie Carver, a CIA agent who’s in San Monique to help Bond. However, as Bond delves deeper into the case, he realizes that Rosie is actually working for Mr. Big. Hendry’s role was groundbreaking as she became the first Bond Girl of African origin.
Watch the cast of Live and Let Die discuss the making of the film
Kananga’s henchmen are some of the most memorable in the Bond series. Julius W. Harris plays the giant Tee Hee, who uses his prosthetic claw as a powerful weapon. Tee Hee’s presence adds plenty to the film’s tension as he and Bond go head-to-head on a few occasions.
Geoffrey Holder plays Baron Samedi, the voodoo priest tasked with killing Bond. With his imposing presence and eerie costume, he adds a supernatural element to the film, making him one of the franchise’s most unique villains.
Earl Jolly Brown is Whisper, another of Mr. Big’s henchmen known for his quiet demeanor, the butler/henchman makes a memorable appearance.
Clifton James brings tons of comic relief to Live and Let Die with his portrayal of Sheriff J.W. Pepper. He plays an unrefined but lovable Southern County sheriff who’s always one or two step behind Bond on his mission. His presence in the movie offers plenty of lighthearted moments, and the actor was invited to reprise the same role in the following Bond film The Man with The Golden Gun.
David Hedison takes on the role of Felix Leiter, Bond’s long-time friend and ally in the CIA. Leiter helps Bond navigate the dangerous world of Mr. Big and provides crucial assistance in the film’s climax.
Madeline Smith stars as the missing-in-action Italian agent Miss Caruso, Bond’s first love interest in Live and Let Die. The film begins with a memorable scene of the two sharing an intimate moment in bed before M arrives to direct Bond on the mission.
While talking, M inquires whether Bond has seen anything of the absconded Miss Caruso, to which he denies. Miss Moneypenny soon spots Curaso almost completely naked and promises not to tell. It’s a funny but also telling sequence that helps set Moore off on his adventures just as Connery had left off with his.
Overall, the Live and Let Die cast was more varied than most other Bond films. It was set during the time of Blaxploitation, and the films theme, plot and locations were built around this. It was the start of Roger Moor’s seven film reign, and with a powerful cast behind him, it made for a great start.
Watch the trailer for Live and Let Die
Other Live and Let Die Cast and Crew Members
Roy Stewart as Quarrel Jr. (Son of Quarrel from Dr. No)
Lon Satton as Harry Strutter
Arnold Williams as Cab Driver 1
Ruth Kempf as Mrs. Bell
Joie Chitwood as Charlie, a CIA agent
Michael Ebbin as Dambala
Kubi Chaza as Sales Girl
B. J. Arnau as a cabaret singer
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz
Based on Live and Let Die novel by Ian Fleming
Produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli
Cinematography: Ted Moore
Edited by Bert Bates, Raymond Poulton and John Shirley
Music by George Martin
Production company: Eon Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates: 27 June 1973 (USA), 12 July 1973 (UK)
Budget: $7 million
Box office: $161.8 million