Brad Whitaker: A War-Obsessed Arms Dealer
Brad Whitaker is a notorious American arms merchant and a main villain in the 1987 James Bond classic, The Living Daylights. Brought to life by American actor Joe Don Baker, Whitaker is an ex-mercenary who collaborates with Georgi Koskov in a scheme to take down the chief of the KGB.
With an inflated sense of self-importance, Brad Whitaker indulges in his grandiose fantasies by constructing a personal museum adorned with statues of famed military leaders, all bearing his own striking resemblance.
Brad Whitaker, an international arms dealer hailing from the United States, harbors a passion for war. He consistently sports a US military uniform, complete with the insignia of a 5-star General of the Army.
Despite his enthusiasm, his military career fell short, prompting him to pursue arms dealing to establish his own private military force. After being expelled from West Point for cheating, Whitaker briefly served as a mercenary in the Belgian Congo before partnering with various criminal organizations to finance his initial arms transactions.
He makes his home in Tangier, Morocco, and immerses himself in military history, reenacting historical battles such as Agincourt, Waterloo, and Gettysburg using automated miniature figures and effects.
Whitaker’s headquarters features a collection of statues representing renowned military leaders like Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Oliver Cromwell, and Attila the Hun.
He admires these figures, referring to them as “surgeons who removed society’s dead flesh.” Disturbingly, each statue is sculpted to resemble Whitaker, which becomes evident when he hides among them one time as he’s awaiting General Pushkin‘s arrival.
Enlisting the help of former Soviet General Georgi Koskov, Whitaker acquires a massive shipment of opium from corrupt officials in Afghanistan, in exchange for $500 million worth of diamonds obtained through a deal with the Soviets.
Once the opium is sold, Whitaker will have ample funds to continue his arms dealings well into the future. Simultaneously, they attempt to use Bond to kill General Pushkin, the Soviet head of secret operations, under the pretense that he initiated a campaign called “Smert Shpionam” (Russian for “Death to Spies”).
In reality, Koskov’s henchman Necros and others are responsible for the deaths of British secret service agents.
After foiling Brad Whitaker’s plans, Bond tracks him to his Tangier base, leading to a cat-and-mouse game in Whitaker’s gaming room. Whitaker utilizes high-tech weaponry, including an 80-round light machine gun with an integrated ballistic shield, a bulletproof vest, and an antique, loaded battlefield cannon.
Bond, on the other hand, wields his Walther PPK. Bond hides behind a bust of the Duke of Wellington and places his key-ring finder behind it. When Whitaker approaches, Bond’s wolf whistle triggers the key-ring finder to explode. The blast sends the bust and podium toppling onto Whitaker, crushing him through a glass display case housing a miniature Waterloo wargaming setup.
As a result, Brad Whitaker perishes on the battlefield, prompting Bond to quip to Pushkin, “He met his Waterloo.”
Joe Don Baker
Joe Don Baker, an American actor known for his tough guy roles, was born in Texas in 1936. He gained fame in the 1973 film Walking Tall and went on to appear in westerns and TV series.
Baker is particularly recognized for his roles in three James Bond films. He first played antagonist Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights (1987) and later portrayed Bond’s ally, CIA agent Jack Wade, in GoldenEye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). This has made him one of only a few actors to play a Bond villaina nd ally in different films, along with Charles Gray, Richard Kiel, and Walter Gotell.
More recent movie credits include Joe Dirt (2001), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Strange Wilderness, and Mud (2012) – his last known film appearance.