Nick Nack – Scaramanga’s All-in-One Assistant
Nick Nack serves as a multifaceted personal assistant to Francisco Scaramanga in the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun. Portrayed by the late French actor Hervé Villechaize, this small-statured yet resourceful character deftly manages a wide range of responsibilities, from serving as a butler, housekeeper, and chef to actively supporting Scaramanga with his criminal activities.
Nick Nack’s unique combination of loyalty, cunning, and adaptability make him a standout figure in the Bond series, and his distinct height adds an extra layer of intrigue to the character. The complex relationship between Nick Nack and Scaramanga is one of the stand out features from the film, and the character has gone down in history as one of the most memorable henchmen 007 has had to deal with.
Standing at a mere 3 ft 11″ (1.18m) tall, Nick Nack’s height is one of his distinguishing features. Despite his loyalty to Francisco Scaramanga, he occasionally hires assassins to eliminate him, a tactic that Scaramanga tolerates as a way to hone his skills and stay sharp.
Nick Nack, as Scaramanga’s sole heir, would inherit everything if an assassin were to succeed in killing Scaramanga. It’s suggested that Scaramanga’s will dictates that Nick Nack can only inherit his fortune if Scaramanga is killed by an assassin in a duel, which is why the miniature henchman never attempts to kill Scaramanga personally and resorts to hiring external assassins.
In the film, Nick Nack initially tries to have Scaramanga killed by a skilled shooter. He locks them in an oversized shooting range on Scaramanga’s island, and taunts Scaramanga about the location of his legendary golden gun. Despite the challenge, Scaramanga manages to retrieve his gun and kill Rodney.
Nick Nack later encounters James Bond while watching the Bottoms Up Club, where Scaramanga has an appointment. However, the “appointment” is actually a hit on British scientist Gibson, orchestrated by Scaramanga’s employer Hai Fat, to steal thes Solex Agitator. Scaramanga shoots Gibson with his Golden Gun, and Nick Nack steals the agitator while Bond is arrested at the scene. Scaramanga and his trusty henchman then depart for the estate with the Agitator.
Bond infiltrates Hai Fat’s estate the following night, seeking the Agitator. He’s attacked by two sumo wrestlers and manages to fend them off but is knocked unconscious by Nick Nack, who’s disguised as a small statue. Nick Nack and both sumos plan to kill Bond, but Hai Fat intervenes and orders Bond to be killed at a karate school instead.
Nick Nack is later seen spying on Bond’s hotel with binoculars, leading to the discovery of Scaramanga’s mistress Andrea Anders‘ betrayal. When Bond finds Miss Anders dead at their planned meeting spot, he encounters Scaramanga and Nick Nack, who is hiding behind a seat with a gun concealed in a bag of peanuts.
After Scaramanga warns Bond to stop meddling, he and Nick Nack leave the scene. Bond’s love interest, Mary Goodnight, follows Nick Nack and attempts to plant a homing device on Scaramanga’s car, but is discovered and kidnapped by the deadly assassin.
Bond uses the homing device to track Goodnight to the island, where Nick Nack greets him with a bottle of Dom Perignon. Scaramanga eventually challenges Bond to a duel, similar to the one at the beginning of the film.
Nick Nack informs Bond that he will inherit the island if Bond kills Scaramanga. After Scaramanga’s death and the estate’s destruction, Bond and Goodnight escape on Scaramanga’s junk, with Nick Nack secretly following them.
Preparing to kill Bond, Nick Nack hides above the bed as Bond and Goodnight are kissing. Miss Goodnight notices the miniature henchman and screams, allowing Bond to dodge the knife attack. Nick Nack then attacks Bond, but 007 traps him inside a suitcase.
Bond implies to Goodnight that he drowned him, by throwing him overboard, but the film closes out with Nick Nack tied to the ship’s mast while the junk sails towards the sunset.
Hervé Villechaize, a renowned French actor and painter, was born on April 23, 1943, in Nazi-occupied Paris, France.
In 1964, Villechaize relocated to the United States, where he initially pursued careers as an artist, painter, and photographer. Before long, he transitioned to acting, beginning with Off-Broadway productions such as Werner Liepolt’s The Young Master Dante, and eventually moving into film.
Villechaize made his film debut in Chappaqua in 1966, followed by a few other films. His major breakthrough came when he landed the role of Nick Nack, Francisco Scaramanga’s henchman in the 1974 Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun.
Although he starred in other films, such as Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), Villechaize became best known for his role as Tattoo, Mr. Roarke’s assistant, in the long-running American TV show Fantasy Island (1977-1984). Tattoo’s catchphrase “The plane! The plane!” became one of the show’s most iconic lines.
Villechaize also had smaller roles in shows like Taxi and played the title role in the Rumpelstiltskin episode of Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre. He even recorded a single, Children of the World, as a vocalist with Cleveland International Records in 1980.
Despite his professional success, Villechaize struggled with alcoholism and depression, leading to missed acting opportunities. He also faced numerous health issues, such as ulcers, a spastic colon, and a life-threatening bout of pneumonia in 1992.
Tragically, on September 4, 1993, Villechaize took his own life in his backyard after writing a note and recording a tape. His common-law wife, Kathy Self, discovered his body and called for medical assistance, but Villechaize died.
Nick Nack – The Man who wants The Golden Gun
Nick Nack, portrayed by the talented Hervé Villechaize, stands as an unforgettable character in the James Bond franchise. His unique physical appearance, combined with a range of skills, cunning wit, and desire to inherit Scaramanga’s fortune made him a captivating figure in The Man with the Golden Gun.