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Albert David Hedison Jr. (May 20, 1927 – July 18, 2019) was an American film, television, and stage actor.[1] He was billed as Al Hedison in his early film work until 1959 when he was cast in the role of Victor Sebastian in the short-lived espionage television series Five Fingers. NBC insisted that he change his name and he proposed his middle name and he was billed as David Hedison from then on. He was known for his role as Captain Lee Crane in Irwin Allen's television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and as CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films, Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill.

David Hedison
Hedison at the Big Apple Convention, 2009
Albert David Hedison Jr.

(1927-05-20)May 20, 1927
DiedJuly 18, 2019(2019-07-18) (aged 92)
Other namesAl Hedison
Years active1949–2005
Spouse(s)Bridget Mori Hedison (1968–2016; her death)
Children2, including Alexandra Hedison



Early lifeEdit

He began his acting career with the Sock and Buskin Players at Brown University before moving to New York to study with Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.[2][3]


He acted at Newport Casino Theatre. In 1951 he won a Barter Theatre Award for most promising young actor, entitling him to work at a theatre in Virginia.[4] He did radio in North Carolina and worked on stage in Pittsburgh.[3]

His work on the New York stage includes an appearance in Much Ado About Nothing (1952).[5] He was studying with Uta Hagen who recommended him for a role in the Broadway production of A Month in the Country (1956), directed by Michael Redgrave.[6] It ran for 48 performances on Broadway. The Theatre World declared Hedison as one of the most promising theatre personalities of the 1955-56 season.[7]

20th Century FoxEdit

After his role in A Month in the Country, Hedison signed a film contract with 20th Century Fox in May 1957.[8] His first movie with them was the classic war film The Enemy Below (1957), which also starred Robert Mitchum.[9][10]

He followed that up with the lead role in the horror film The Fly (1958) with Vincent Price as his brother.[5]

Hedison went to England to play the lead role in The Son of Robin Hood (1958).[11][10]

David HedisonEdit

Hedison was cast in the lead of a TV series made by Fox for NBC, Five Fingers (1959).[8] He was reluctant to make it, especially when NBC insisted he change his first name to David. The series only lasted one season.[12][3] Hedison guest starred on some Fox shows, Hong Kong and Bus Stop. He co-starred with Tom Tryon in Marines, Let's Go (1961).[13]

Hedison worked regularly on television, guest starring in Perry Mason, The Saint, and the film The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).[8]

Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaEdit

Irwin Allen offered Hedison the role of Captain Lee Crane in the television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, co-starring with Richard Basehart, which ran from 1964 to 1968.[14]


When the series ended, Hedison moved to London. "I liked London very much," he later said. "I just wanted to go and spend a couple years there ... It's two years I'm not sorry for. The problem was, when I came back to the U.S., it was more difficult getting work then."[15]

Hedison guest starred on Journey to the Unknown, Love, American Style, ITV Sunday Night Theatre, BBC's Play of the Month, The F.B.I., and The New Perry Mason. He could be seen in Kemek (1970), A Kiss Is Just a Kiss (1971), Crime Club (1973), The Cat Creature, and The Man in the Wood. He was most proud of doing an adaptation of Summer and Smoke with Lee Remick.[15]

James Bond and televisionEdit

Hedison played Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die (1973). He later said the film "didn't really do much for my career. I got some wonderful fan mail, sent my pictures out, but it didn't lead to any work at all."[15]


Hedison toured with Barbara Anderson and Anita Gillette in Neil Simon's Chapter Two in 1979 and 1980.[16]

He could be seen in North Sea Hijack (1980), episodes of Charlie's Angels, Nero Wolfe, Hart to Hart, T. J. Hooker, Matt Houston, Amanda's, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Partners in Crime, The Fall Guy, The Love Boat, Simon & Simon, Double Trouble, Finder of Lost Loves, Knight Rider, Crazy Like a Fox, The A-Team, Trapper John, M.D., Hotel, The Colbys, Who's the Boss?, The Law & Harry McGraw, and Murder, She Wrote.[5][8]

Hedison appeared in the West Coast premiere of Forty Deuce in 1985.[17]

Hedison was the first actor to play James Bond's ally Felix Leiter in more than one film when he reprised the role in Licence to Kill (1989).[1] Hedison thought he was asked back because "there was much more to do in the film than in the past, and they were afraid of using an unknown or someone they were not quite sure of."[15]

"I think in this kind of film, it won't lead to other work unless you do something stand-out with a really wonderfully written scene," added Hedison." Otherwise you're just doing a job, part of the ensemble. And in this case, I have lots of action scenes, but no one scene that is memorable ... Felix is a fairly one-dimensional character, you never get into any depth. You do what you can. There's not much to play. All you can do is perform it with a simple reality ... It was running around, bang bang, getting wet, screaming and yelling, and all kinds of fun, but not serious acting."[15]

Later careerEdit

From 1991 to 1996, Hedison was a regular on the long-running soap opera Another World.[10]

He also starred in the New York City premiere of First Love with Lois Nettleton in 1999. He returned to the Cape Playhouse to appear in Tale of the Allergist's Wife (2002), and at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre, in Love Letters with Nancy Dussault in 2007.[18]

He had a role in The Young and the Restless and could be seen in The Reality Trap (2005).[19]

In 2006, he acted in The Scent of Jasmine at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles on November 13. In 2008, Hedison performed Uncle Vanya at the Actor's Studio West. He also participated in performances of The Cherry Orchard and I Never Sang for My Father in Los Angeles in 2009. He later appeared in The Marriage Play by Edward Albee.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

His parents were Albert David Hedison (Heditsian) Sr. and Rose Boghosian; they were Armenian. He and his wife Bridget were married in London on June 29, 1968. Bridget Hedison died of breast cancer on February 22, 2016.[21] They had two daughters, actor/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison and editor/producer Serena Hedison. Alexandra Hedison has appeared in L.A. Firefighters and The L Word and is married to actress and director Jodie Foster.

He died on July 18, 2019, at his home in Los Angeles.[22][10]




Year Title Role Notes
1959-1960 Five Fingers Victor Sebastian 16 episodes
1961 Hong Kong Roger Ames Season 1, Episode 15: "Lesson in Fear"
Bus Stop Max Hendricks Season 1, Episode 11: "Call Back Yesterday"
1962 Perry Mason Damion White Season 6, Episode 6: "The Case of the Dodging Domino"
1964 The Saint Bill Harvey Season 2, Episode 19: "Luella"
The Farmer's Daughter Richard Barden Season 2, Episode 2: "The Mink Machine"
1964-1968 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Captain Lee Crane 110 episodes[5]
1965 ABC's Nightlife Himself 1 episode
1967 Hollywood Squares Himself - Panelist 5 episodes
The Mike Douglas Show Himself 1 episode
You Don't Say! Himself 2 episodes
Dream Girl of '67 Himself 5 episodes
1968 Journey to the Unknown William Searle Season 1, Episode 2: "Somewhere in a Crowd"
1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Bill Kromin Season 4, Episode 13: "A Man About a Dog"
Play of the Month John Buchanan Season 7, Episode 5: "Summer and Smoke"
1972-1973 The F.B.I. Scott Jordan / Lou Forrester 2 episodes
1973 The New Perry Mason Calvin Ryan Season 1, Episode 12: "The Case of the Frenzied Feminist"
1973-1975 Cannon David Farnum / John Sandler / Gordon Bell 3 episodes
1974 Shaft Gil Kirkwood Season 1, Episode 6: "The Capricorn Murders"
Medical Center Dave Season 5, Episode 17: "Dark Warning"
The Wide World of Mystery Herbert Kasson 1 episode
The Manhunter Jeffrey Donnenfield Season 1, Episode 2: "The Man Who Thought He Was Dillinger"
The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Clay Season 3, Episode 1: "Can I Save My Children?"
1975 Bronk Lyle Brewster Season 1, Episode 13: "Betrayal"
1976 Ellery Queen Roger Woods Season 1, Episode 14: "The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer"
Family Peter Towne 2 episodes
1977 Barnaby Jones Paul Nugent Season 5, Episode 12: "The Deadly Charade"
Wonder Woman Evan Robley Season 2, Episode 7: "The Queen and the Thief"
Gibbsville Season 1, Episode 13: "The Grand Gesture"
1977-1985 The Love Boat Cliff Jacobs / Barry Singer / Bradford York / Allan Christensen / Sherman / Buddy Stanfield 7 episodes
1978 The Bob Newhart Show Steve Darnell Season 6, Episode 19: "It Didn't Happen One Night"
Project U.F.O. Frederick Flanagan Season 1, Episode 11: "Sighting 4011: The Dollhouse Incident"
Flying High Glen Dodson Season 1, Episode 8: "High Rollers"
1978-1981 Charlie's Angels John Thornwood / Carter Gillis 2 episodes
1978-1984 Fantasy Island Daniel Garman / Phillip Camden / Captain John Day / David Tabori / Karl Dixon / Claude Duncan / Carlyle Cranston 6 episodes
1979 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Ashpenaz Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
Benson John Taylor Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"
1981 Nero Wolfe Phillip Corrigan Season 1, Episode 8: "Murder by the Book"
1982 Hart to Hart Miles Wiatt Season 3, Episode 13: "Hart of Diamonds"
T.J. Hooker Saxon Season 1, Episode 1: "The Protectors"
Romance Theatre Marc 4 episodes
Matt Houston Pierre Cerdan Season 1, Episode 6: "Recipe for Murder"
1982-1985 The Fall Guy Monte Sorrenson / Milo / Jordan Stevens 3 episodes
1983 Amanda's David Season 1, Episode 1: "All in a Day's Work"
Dynasty Sam Dexter 2 episodes
1984 Partners in Crime Davidson Season 1, Episode 8: "Fantasyland"
1985 Simon & Simon Austin Tyler 2 episodes
Double Trouble David Burke Season 2, Episode 12: "September Song"
Finder of Lost Loves Neil Palmer Season 1, Episode 18: "Haunted Memories"
Knight Rider Theodore Cooper Season 3, Episode 20: "Knight in Retreat"
A.D. Porcius Festus 5 episodes
Crazy Like a Fox Ed Galvin Season 2, Episode 1: "Eye in the Sky"
The A-Team David Vaughn Season 4, Episode 9: "Mind Games"
Trapper John, M.D. Miles Warner Season 7, Episode 8: "The Second Best Man"
1985-1987 Hotel Dr. Howard Bentley / Jack Fitzpatrick 2 episodes
1985-1987 The Colbys Roger Langdon 9 episodes
1986-1989 Murder, She Wrote Victor Casper / Victor Caspar / Mitch Payne 3 episodes
1987 Who's the Boss? Jim Ratcliff Season 3, Episode 23: "Mona"
The Law and Harry McGraw Blake Devaroe Season 1, Episode 3: "Mr. Chapman, I Presume?"
1992 Another World Spencer Harrison 1 episode
2004 The Young and the Restless Arthur Hendricks 50 episodes
Soap Talk Himself 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b "David Hedison". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  3. ^ a b c He Sold Anything and Finally Himself Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune July 3, 1960: b14.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nichols, Mackenzie (July 22, 2019). "David Hedison, Actor in 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' and 'The Fly', Dies at 92". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Theatre: Charming Play by Turgenev: 'Month in the Country' Staged at Phoenix By BROOKS ATKINSON. New York Times April 4, 1956: 23.
  7. ^ STAGE AWARDS MADE: Theatre World Prizes Go to 'Promising Personalities' New York Times May 23, 1956: 35.
  8. ^ a b c d Evans, Greg (July 22, 2019). "David Hedison Dies: 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' Actor Was 92". Deadline. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Chicago Daily Tribune May 25, 1957: 17.
  10. ^ a b c d "David Hedison, 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' Actor, Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  11. ^ $4 MILLION LATER: 20th Has Its Stars of Tomorrow Los Angeles Times August 16, 1959: E1.
  12. ^ MRS. ROOSEVELT PLANS TV SERIES New York Times9 June 1959: 75.
  13. ^ Tryon Will Star in Marine Drama: Locale to Be Japan, Okinawa; 'Exodus' Premiere Picketed Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times December 24, 1960: A4.
  14. ^
    • p.157 Weaver, Tom David Hedison Interview in Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers McFarland, June 1, 2007
    • CAMERA ANGLES: Smooth sailing for David Hedison MacMINN, ALEENE. Los Angeles Times July 4, 1965: H4.
  15. ^ a b c d e David Hedison hopes for fame, again, in `License to Kill'Lee Goldberg. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.. Chicago Tribune June 2, 1989: J.
  16. ^ SIMON COMEDY 'CHAPTER TWO' AT FOX THEATRE, Los Angeles Times, September 26, 1979: sd4.
  17. ^ STAGE REVIEW `FORTY-DEUCE' LOOKS AT MALE HUSTLERS' WORLD Los Angeles Times January 23, 1985: 7.
  18. ^ First Love Gets a Shot At a Rare Second Chance Newsday12 Nov 1999: B35.
  19. ^ Soap star made a buzz in original Fly Soapsuds Toronto Star17 Jan 1994: C7.
  20. ^ David Hedison's Hollywood 'Voyage' The Spectrum; St. George, Utah [St. George, Utah]May 20, 2016: A.5.
  21. ^ "Obituary". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  22. ^ SOD (July 22, 2019). "Soap Alum David Hedison Dies at 92". Soap Opera Digest. United States: American Media, Inc. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  23. ^ David Hedison at Rotten Tomatoes

External linksEdit