Oddjob – The Indomitable Henchman
Oddjob, a Korean bodyguard and enforcer, is employed by the wealthy bullion dealer and criminal Auric Goldfinger. Portrayed by the late American wrestler and actor Harold Sakata, the character makes his first appearance in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, adapted from Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel.
Since then, Oddjob has appeared in various video games, such as GoldenEye 007 (1997), James Bond 007 (1998), GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004), and 007 Legends (2012).
Alongside Red Grant, Rosa Klebb, and Jaws, Oddjob is one of the most iconic henchmen in the Bond franchise and serves as an archetype for future henchmen in the series.
Originating from Korea, Oddjob is the valet, bodyguard, and henchman of billionaire businessman Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), whom he serves with unwavering loyalty.
As a combat-trained and highly durable fighter, Oddjob fulfills Goldfinger’s orders with ease, often using his special Razor-Rimmed Hat. This unique weapon, with sharp metal incorporated into its brim, can be thrown as a projectile and effortlessly cut through metal or stone.
James Bond (Sean Connery) first encounters Oddjob after foiling Goldfinger’s cheating at gin rummy, leading to Oddjob knocking out Bond and murdering Jill Masterson, by covering her in gold paint.
Later, Oddjob serves as Goldfinger’s golf caddy during a high-stakes match with Bond. Demonstrating his loyalty and resourcefulness, the deadly henchman helps Goldfinger cheat by dropping a duplicate ball from his trouser leg. After the game, Oddjob showcases his hat-throwing skills by slicing through a marble statue, warning Bond to stay out of Goldfinger’s affairs.
Oddjob joins Goldfinger and his gold-smuggling Rolls Royce Phantom III on a flight to Geneva, Switzerland, where he drives Goldfinger to his Swiss smelting plant, Auric Enterprises. Here, they dismantle the car and melt its gold components, which Goldfinger has smuggled throughout Europe.
Bond, spying on the operation, meets Jill Masterson’s sister Tilly, who’s trying to kill Goldfinger for her sister’s death. They’re then chased by Goldfinger’s henchmen, and as Tilly tries to escape into the forest, he kills her using his hat before capturing Bond.
Oddjob goes with Goldfinger to his Kentucky stud ranch, where they reveal Operation Grand Slam’s objective: to destroy Fort Knox and its gold supply, increasing Goldfinger’s gold value and making him the world’s richest man.
Oddjob plays a role in the scheme, killing Mr. Solo, a gangster who refuses to participate, and disposes of his body by crushing the car containing Solo’s corpse at a junkyard.
With US military forces believed to be neutralized by nerve gas, Goldfinger’s private army infiltrates Fort Knox, while Goldfinger arrives in a helicopter carrying a Chinese atomic bomb to irradiate the gold reserve.
Oddjob follows Bond into the vault and handcuffs him to the bomb. Goldfinger locks Bond, Oddjob, and henchman Kisch in the vault during an ensuing gunfight. When Kisch realizes Goldfinger’s betrayal, he tries to disarm the bomb, but Oddjob, remaining loyal, kills him to ensure the plan’s success, even at the cost of his life.
Bond, several floors below, frees himself from the handcuffs using keys from Kisch’s body. Despite his exceptional combat skills and strength, Bond eventually gets hold of Oddjob’s hat. When the henchman tries to retrieve the hat wedged between metal bars, Bond electrocutes him using a severed electrical cable, putting an end to the formidable henchman.
Harold Sakata, an American Olympic weightlifter, professional wrestler, and film actor of Japanese descent, was born in 1920 in Holualoa, Hawaii.
After training at the Nu’uanu YMCA in Honolulu, Sakata served in the US Army during World War II and set records in weightlifting. He won a silver medal at the 1948 London Summer Olympics and later began a wrestling career under the name Tosh Togo.
Sakata’s acting career started with his iconic role as Oddjob in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, where his steel-brimmed bowler hat became a series trademark. He later appeared in various films and TV shows, including commercials as Oddjob for Vicks cough syrup.
Oddjob – A Legendary Henchman
Oddjob remains an enduring symbol of the James Bond franchise, with his unwavering loyalty, physical prowess, and deadly razor-rimmed hat.
The character, brought to life by the talented Harold Sakata, has left a lasting impact on popular culture, so much so there are collectibles still being released on the character.