Famous British actor Jack Hedley, probably best known for his role as Sir Timothy Havelock in the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’, died earlier this month after a brief illness. The Times London announced his death in a notice which read:
[Hedley] passed away on December 11, 2021, at the age of 92, from a short illness courageously endured. At his request, there will be no funeral. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.
Hedley’s acting career spanned decades, and he starred in rather iconic roles in film as well as on stage. The actor was also very popular on television with a roster of hit shows in the UK including Colditz, Dixon of Dock Green, The Buccaneers, Only Fools and Horses and the TV movie version of Brief Encounter.
Born in 1929 as Jack Hawkins, he changed his last name to avoid confusion with his namesake who was yet another iconic British actor known for his portrayal of the military. Jack Hedley started his acting career in the 1950s and found his big breakthrough in the BBC series The World of Tim Frazer in the early 1960s.
He subsequently starred in a number of films of the decade, including Lawrence of Arabia, The Scarlet Blade, Witchcraft, and The Secret of Blood Island. However, his role in Lawrence of Arabia was minor, as he played a reporter at Lawrence’s funeral. Hedley had finally made a name for himself as someone who best portrays military figures. In the Colditz television production he played Lt. Col. Preston and his portrayal was the embodiment of the “British stiff upper lip”. He also had a relatively minor role in the American war epic The Longest Day, where he starred alongside mainstays like John Wayne, Robert Ryan, and Richard Burton.
However, Hedley is perhaps best known for his role in the 1981 Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. He played the role of Sir Timothy Havelock, a British Navy archaeologist who was hired by the British Secret Service to locate the wreck of the spy ship, the St. George. The character was also the father of Melina Havelock (played by Carole Bouquet), the “Bond girl” of the film. Interestingly, Hedley also voiced the parrot that accompanied Sir Havelock.
Jack Hedley continued to make regular appearances on numerous shows throughout the 1980s and 90s, including Only Fools and Horses, ‘Allo’ Allo and Dalziel and Pascoe. His last screen appearance was in the Italian television miniseries called St. Paul, where he played the role of a priest.