Dr. Kaufman: The Forensic Scientist Turned Assassin
Dr. Kaufman is a German scientist and professional assassin under the employ of media tycoon Elliot Carver. First seen in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, the character was brought to life by the late American actor Vincent Schiavelli.
Kaufman’s character was further immortalized in Raymond Benson’s novelization of the film and echoed in the 1999 video game adaptation.
Leading a double life as a forensic medicine professor and professional assassin, Dr. Kaufman is recruited by media tycoon Elliot Carver who discovers a romantic liaison between his wife, Paris, and James Bond.
After executing Paris Carver, Kaufman patiently waits for Bond in his hotel room, planning a death scenario for Bond that implicates him in Paris’s murder, making it look like a murder-suicide case.
When Bond arrives at the hotel, Kaufman confronts him and boasts about his high-demand professional assassination skills worldwide, with celebrity overdose being his signature method.
However, Bond gets a breather when Dr. Kaufman receives a sudden call from his protégé, Richard Stamper.
Stamper and his crew are struggling to infiltrate Bond’s BMW 750iL to recover the GPS encoder that Bond had swiped from them earlier. They’re stumped by the car’s advanced security system, so Stamper pleads with Kaufman to coerce Bond into deactivating the car’s security measures.
Handing Dr. Kaufman his mobile phone, the remote control for the car, Bond outsmarts Kaufman by tricking him into triggering the phone’s taser feature. This shocks Kaufman and gives Bond a chance to turn the tables.
Now facing his own weapon, Dr. Kaufman pleads, asserting that he’s just a professional performing his duties. To this, Bond retorts that he’s doing the same and fires a bullet, killing Kaufman’s with a shot to the head.
Vincent Schiavelli, born on November 11, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York, was a renowned American actor known for his theater, film, and TV performances. Diagnosed with Marfan syndrome during childhood, he began his acting journey at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School and later studied at New York University.
Schiavelli debuted in 1971 with Taking Off and earned fame in movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ghost, and Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. He made significant contributions to TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Taxi, and was the first to sustain a gay character portrayal on American TV.
Co-chairing the National Marfan Foundation, he supported others with the syndrome. Schiavelli was married twice and had a son, Andrea. He passed away due to lung cancer on December 26, 2005, in Polizzi Generosa, Sicily.