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Vladek Sheybal was a Polish-born actor who, after making two films in his home country in 1957, left Poland for the greener filmic pastures of England. In 1963, not only was he wooed by director Terence Young to take a part in the James Bond film "From Russia with Love," thanks to his unique voice, but also star Sean Connery, a friend, recommended him for the role of the sinister Kronsteen, the chess grandmaster and member of SPECTRE, the terrorist organization. It was an auspicious start for Sheybal, and arguably his best-known role, yet he still had nearly 30 years of work ahead of him. Though he appeared in only one other Bond film, the rather un-Bond-like 1967 "Casino Royale," as the chauffeur to Orson Welles' Le Chiffre, Sheybal took on numerous other villains, including Dr. Eiwort in 1967's "Billion Dollar Brain," and Zemetkin in 1973's "Scorpio," both thrillers. Sheybal launched his TV career the same year as in film, and was just as prolific there: he was a regular on the sci-fi series "UFO" in the early 1970s, playing a doctor, and on the 1979 family drama "Quest of Eagles," as a priest. (Fortunately, his typecasting as a villain wasn't all-encompassing.) Away from the camera, Sheybal also performed on stage and taught acting.
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