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Sean Connery’s James Bond co-star committed suicide before the 007 movie finished

The Scottish actor’s James Bond co-star was Pedro Armendáriz, who played Ali Kerim Bey, head of MI6 Station T in Istanbul. Unfortunately, the Mexican actor, who has an important role in the film, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. In 1956, he had had a role in John Wayne’s Genghis Khan flop The Conqueror, which was filming in Utah while the US government was conducting atmospheric nuclear tests in a state of Nevada.

Tragically, within 25 years of production, 91 of the 220 working on the film developed cancer, 46 of whom died from it. A few years later, Pedro developed neck cancer at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, which was diagnosed as inoperable. However, the Mexican actor was determined to complete most of his role in From Russia with Love as soon as possible despite his pain, in order to provide financial security for his wife. Filming of the Sean Connery James Bond film in Istanbul was soon canceled and moved to Britain, and Pedro’s scenes were brought forward so that he could complete as much as possible while he was still physically able to.

When it got to the point where he couldn’t work anymore, Pedro had a double and even director Terence Young filled in for him in the last two months of production. Unable to go on and with only weeks to live, the Bond actor headed to a hospital near his home. There, the Mexican actor smuggled a weapon in and committed suicide on June 18, 1963 at the age of 51.

After Pedro’s sudden loss, From Russia with Love had to have uncredited Berkely Mather rewrites during filming. Peter Hunt began editing the film despite shooting being behind schedule and over budget in an effort to meet the release date. He helped restructure the opening scenes of the Connery Bond film at a suggestion from Young.

READ MORE: The incredible generosity of Sean Connery in the final performance of James Bond

This carried on a film tradition from 007 to the present day, when Red Grant’s training sequence would be changed before the opening title sequence. Interestingly, Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ended up playing President Héctor López in Timothy Dalton’s second Bond film, 1989’s License to Kill. Pedro Jr. went on to appear in blockbusters like Amistad, The Mask of Zorro and Once Upon a Time in Mexico . Sadly, he too was diagnosed with cancer in November 2011 and died a month later at the age of 71. He is buried by his father in the Panteón Jardín in Mexico City.

For confidential support, call Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.



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