Albert R. Broccoli


Producer

About

Also Known As
Broccoli (Cubby), Albert Romolo Broccoli
Birth Place
Astoria, New York, USA
Born
April 05, 1909
Died
June 27, 1996
Cause of Death
Heart Disease

Biography

As the original producer of the James Bond franchise, Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli commenced an iconic franchise that became one of the longest-running and most successful in cinema history. Starting with "Dr. No" (1962), Broccoli introduced the world to the suave secret agent, James Bond, who had a license to kill, a love of vodka martinis and a weakness for bedding dangerous women. Thoug...

Family & Companions

Dana Broccoli
Wife
Writer. Survived him.

Bibliography

"When the Snow Melts: The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli"
Albert Broccoli with Donald Zec, Boxtree (1998)

Notes

Awarded Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Received Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French government

Biography

As the original producer of the James Bond franchise, Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli commenced an iconic franchise that became one of the longest-running and most successful in cinema history. Starting with "Dr. No" (1962), Broccoli introduced the world to the suave secret agent, James Bond, who had a license to kill, a love of vodka martinis and a weakness for bedding dangerous women. Though the first film was grounded in some degree of spy realism, Broccoli rapidly increased the size of his productions to include lavish locales, over-the-top stunts and impossible gadgets that only added to the success of the series. He worked in partnership with Harry Saltzman through EON Productions to make "From Russia with Love" (1963), "Goldfinger" (1964) and "Thunderball" (1965), all of which starred Sean Connery as the original and what most called the best actor to play Bond. Though he produced other films in the 1960s, Broccoli concentrated solely on Bond by the time Roger Moore took over the role. After Saltzman sold his share, Broccoli flew solo on "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) and up to "For Your Eyes Only" (1981), increasing both the campy tone and box office take. Broccoli brought daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson into the fold with "A View to A Kill" (1985), saw the series slip with the Dalton films and returned to prominence with his last, "GoldenEye" (1995), all of which cemented his legacy as the producer of cinema's most popular film series.

Born on April 5, 1909 in Astoria, Queens, NY, Broccoli was descended from a family of horticulturists and himself worked as an agronomist on his family's farm. After living for a time in Florida, he returned to New York following the death of his father, Giovanni, to live with his grandparents and later attended City College of New York. Broccoli entered the film industry in the late 1930s as an assistant director for 20th Century Fox, but was nearly dragged into a scandal in 1937 for his alleged participation in the beating death of "Three Stooges" creator, Ted Nealy, as claimed decades later in E.J. Fleming's book, The Fixers (2004). Though it has been thought that Healy was beaten by three anonymous college students, the book claimed his death was caused by Broccoli, star Wallace Beery and gangster Pat DiCicco, and was covered up by Louis B. Mayer's publicity machine at MGM. No proof or confirmation outside the book was produced, though inconsistencies about Nealy's death persisted.

Meanwhile, Broccoli joined the U.S. Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor and upon return, bounced around Hollywood working a number of different jobs, including agent and assistant director on Howard Hawks' notorious "The Outlaw" (1943). He did not find his true calling until 1951, when he moved to London. Soon thereafter, he formed Warwick Productions with director-turned-producer Irving Allen. The two proved a fairly prolific team over the next seven years, specializing in crime dramas and action adventures, especially those set in exotic places. Broccoli earned his first credit on "The Red Beret/Paratrooper" (1953), the first of three films featuring visiting U.S. star Alan Ladd, whose status had slipped in his native country. Broccoli and Allen ventured into a U.S. co-production with the war drama, "Cockleshell Heroes" (1955), directed by and starring Jose Ferrer. The two teamed regularly with director John Gilling for five films, beginning with the jungle misfire "Odongo" (1956) while also helping another U.S. star, Victor Mature, keep his career going with "Safari" (1956) and "No Time to Die" (1958).

Though Broccoli's early efforts with Allen were fairly routine, the films were generally competent, watchable and produced with professional production values. The black comedy "How to Murder a Rich Uncle" (1957) was an offbeat project for the producer, while "Fire Down Below" (1957), featuring Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth and newcomer Jack Lemmon, possessed a higher profile cast than he was used to. Broccoli and Allen's last effort together was also one of their more intriguing items, "The Trials of Oscar Wilde" (1960), a fairly tame but nonetheless intelligent and - for its day - provocative drama about the writer's infamous criminal trials for homosexuality. Meanwhile, Broccoli formed another company, Eon Productions, with producer Harry Saltzman, a writer who had acquired the rights to a bunch of spy novels written by Ian Fleming starring secret agent James Bond. After partnering with United Artists, Broccoli and Saltzman set about finding the right man to play 007, even holding a contest that produced six finalists, until finally settling on Sean Connery.

With a lower than expected budget, Broccoli and Saltzman set about making the first film, "Dr. No" (1962), unknowingly kicking off an historic franchise that was the longest-running in history and saw several prominent actors tackling the role of James Bond. Though "Dr. No" (1962) actually was not a runaway box office smash, but it undeniably set the pattern for much of what was to come: handsome, skilled cinematography and art direction done on an increasingly larger scale; plenty of well-crafted action set pieces that featured elaborate chases and opening stunt sequences; a tongue-in-cheek attitude that mixed over-the-top espionage plots, glamorous sexcapades with often duplicitous Bond girls, and evil villains bent on ruling the world who are aided by nearly invincible henchmen. As he continued the series, Broccoli went outside the newly minted franchise to produce a typical Bob Hope comedy, "Call Me Bwana" (1963), and later in the decade he enjoyed success with the whimsical musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968). But as their popularity grew, the Bond films eventually became to represent Broccoli's entire output.

The James Bond films quickly found their audience market and critical acclaim with their second effort, "From Russia with Love" (1963) and "Goldfinger" (1964), widely considered to be the best of the bunch. Broccoli and Saltzman went on to form a second production company, Danjaq S.A. - so named after their wives, Dana Broccoli and Jacqueline Saltzman - to handle the Bond films. Following years of legal entanglement, the producing pair finally made "Thunderball" (1965), which they actually wanted to be their first Bond movie, and continued their critical and commercial success with "You Only Live Twice" (1967). After Connery decided to retire from playing Bond, Broccoli and Saltzman chose unknown George Lazenby to play 007 in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), which faced mixed reviews for both the film and their handpicked actor's performance. Though critics and audiences warmed to the film in later years, Lazenby's turn as Bond remained lamented. Wooed by a large paycheck from United Artists, Connery returned to the role for "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971), which became a substantial hit, but was criticized for its overall campy humor.

After introducing new Bond Roger Moore with the blaxploitation era "Live and Let Die" (1973), Saltzman sold his share of EON following the rather dull installment, "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974). Broccoli continued as a solo producer on "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977), often seen as the best of the Roger Moore era, and "Moonraker" (1979), which was criticized for its overly campy tone, but grew in stature in later years. Both films introduced arch-villain, Jaws (Richard Kiel), an audience favorite and one of the most popular henchmen. Meanwhile, Broccoli brought Bond to more grounded territory with "For Your Eyes Only" (1981), though lost critics and audiences with "Octopussy" (1983). An aging Moore made his last film for Broccoli with "A View to a Kill" (1985), which marked the debut of daughter Barbara Broccoli as a behind-the-scenes presence as an assistant director and associate producer. The film also began the tenure of writer and producer, stepson Michael G. Wilson, who went on to write and produce the Bond films with Barbara Broccoli well into the next century.

Since Moore was seen as being too old the play the role, Broccoli sought out his fourth actor to portray Bond. After a protracted effort to land Pierce Brosnan, who was ultimately unable to leave his TV series, "Remington Steele" (NBC, 1982-87), Broccoli was convinced to cast Timothy Dalton to star in "The Living Daylights" (1987), a more realistic and espionage-driven effort that brought Bond back to its original vision as outlined by Fleming. Dalton's darker and more violent interpretation of Bond in "License to Kill" (1989) was met with some criticism and became the lowest-earning film in the series. It also marked the final producer credit Broccoli would receive, as the series entered into a protracted legal dispute with MGM over the Bond back catalog that lasted six years. During the hiatus, Dalton left the job and forced the producers to find yet another Bond. Luckily, Brosnan was available this time and was cast in "GoldenEye" (1995), on which Broccoli served as a consulting producer. The film brought the Bond franchise back to commercial prominence, though in the end "GoldenEye" was the final Bond movie Broccoli ever saw made. He died on June 27, 1996 of a heart attack in his Beverly Hills, CA home. He was 87 years old and left Hollywood's most successful and recognizable franchise in the capable hands of Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

By Shawn Dwyer

Filmography

 

Producer (Feature Film)

Licence to Kill (1989)
Producer
The Living Daylights (1987)
Producer
A View To A Kill (1985)
Producer
Octopussy (1983)
Producer
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Producer
Moonraker (1979)
Producer
The Spy who Loved Me (1977)
Producer
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Producer
Live and Let Die (1973)
Producer
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Presented By
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Producer
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Presented By
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Producer
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Producer
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Presented By
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Producer
Johnny Nobody (1965)
Executive Producer
Thunderball (1965)
Presented By
From Russia With Love (1964)
Presented By
From Russia With Love (1964)
Producer
Goldfinger (1964)
Presented By
Goldfinger (1964)
Producer
Call Me Bwana (1963)
Producer
Call Me Bwana (1963)
Presented By
Dr. No (1963)
Producer
Killers of Kilimanjaro (1960)
Producer
Jazz Boat (1960)
Executive Producer
The Trials Of Oscar Wilde (1960)
Executive Producer
The Bandit of Zhobe (1959)
Producer
High Flight (1958)
Executive Producer
Tank Force (1958)
Producer
The Man Inside (1958)
Producer
How to Murder a Rich Uncle (1958)
Executive Producer
Pickup Alley (1957)
Producer
Fire Down Below (1957)
Producer
The Cockleshell Heroes (1956)
Executive Producer
The Gamma People (1956)
Executive Producer
Odongo (1956)
Executive Producer
Safari (1956)
Producer
Zarak (1956)
Producer
A Prize of Gold (1955)
Executive Producer
Paratrooper (1954)
Producer
The Black Knight (1954)
Producer
Hell Below Zero (1954)
Producer

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Avalanche (1946)
Production Manager

Life Events

1938

Entered film industry as assistant director at 20th Century-Fox

1951

Moved to London

1953

First film as producer "Red Beret/Paratrooper"; also marked first collaboration with producer Irving Allen and first of three films with star Alan Ladd

1955

First U.S.-U.K. co-production, "Cockleshell Heroes"

1956

First of five films with star Victor Mature, "Safari" and "Zarak", the former Broccoli's first solely U.S. producing credit

1956

First of five collaborations with director John Gilling, "Odongo"

1959

Last film with both John Gilling and Victor Mature, "The Bandit of Zhobe"

1960

Last collaboration with producer Irving Allen, "The Trials of Oscar Wilde"

1962

Formed Eon Productions with producer Harry Saltzman

1962

Produced first James Bond film, "Dr. No"; marked first collaboration with Harry Saltzman

1963

Last U.S. production for many years, "Call Me Bwana" (almost all of the James Bond films are U.K. productions)

1968

Produced last non-James Bond film, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"

1974

Last collaboration with producer Harry Saltzman, "The Man with the Golden Gun"

1979

Began ongoing collaboration with producer Michael G. Wilson (his stepson) on the James Bond films; first film together, "Moonraker"

1987

First brought in daughter Barbara Broccoli as an associate producer on the James Bond films with "The Living Daylights"

1988

Dedication, on July 18, of the Dana and Albert Broccoli Building of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, NY, a new structure which houses the girls' wing of the organization

1989

Last producing credit, "Licence to Kill"

Videos

Movie Clip

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - Who Is Your Floor? In Amsterdam, James Bond (Sean Connery), pretending to be jewel smuggler Peter Franks, engages the real one (Joe Robinson) in a muscular brawl in an elevator, with Tiffany (Jill St. John), whom we believe is buying his subterfuge, observing in Diamonds Are Forever, 1971.
Thunderball (1965) - Do I Seem Healthy? Perhaps the only scene in which Bond (Sean Connery) ever shouts "Help!", strapped to a traction table by the irritable Patricia (Molly Peters) in Thunderball, 1965.
Goldfinger (1964) - Personal Vendetta Back at HQ, Bond (Sean Connery) tells "M" (Bernard Lee) about the killing of Jill Masterson, confirms he's up for the job, then does customary banter with Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) in Goldfinger, 1964.
Dr. No (1963) - Moneypenny, M Bond (Sean Connery) is briefed on his mission and lectured about his gun as Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and "M" (Bernard Lee) make their first appearances (with Peter Burton as Major Boothroyd) in Dr. No, 1963.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Definitely Unstable Just rescued after a near-accident by friendly motorist “Truly Scrumptious” (Sally Ann Howes), Jemima and Jeremy (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill), who never go to school, indirectly introduce their crackpot inventor father Potts (Dick Van Dyke), and later his father (Lionel Jeffries, headed to “Inja!”), early in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968, from an Ian Fleming novel, and 007 producer Albert R. Broccoli.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - She's Not Just Any Old Car After an elaborate opening confirming the (title) car’s lineage, we meet Jemima and Jeremy (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill) at play, Victor Maddern making an offer to Coggins (Desmond Llewelyn, James Bond’s “Q”) then meeting Sally Ann Howes (as Truly Scrumptious), in the family musical and technical marvel from Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968, starring Dick Van Dyke.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Baron Bomburst, Title Song Inventor dad Potts (Dick Van Dyke) with sweetheart Truly (Scrumptious! Sally Ann Potts) on a beach picnic has just confabulated the evil Baron Bomburst (Gert Fröbe, a.k.a. Goldfinger) for the kids (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill), cueing another Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman original and one of the first big tech sequences, in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968, from James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Toot Sweets Joining nutty inventor Potts (Dick Van Dyke) making a pitch to candy kingpin Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), cajoled by daughter Truly (Sally Ann Howes) and his own kids (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill), the first big production number, and another Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman original, in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968.
Goldeneye (1995) - Call It Professional Courtesy In St. Petersburg we meet Robbie Coltrane as Russian KGB man-turned-gangster Zukovsky, pursued by Bond (Pierce Brosnan) looking into the Janus crime syndicate, wrapped around Minnie Driver’s kooky cameo as a girlfriend and country singer, performing the Tammy Wynette standard, in Goldeneye, 1995.
Goldeneye (1995) - I Made It Easy This Time Neatly arrayed (presumably) enemies, at the ex-Soviet weapon center, we meet Izabella Scorupco as Natalya, and Alan Cumming as Boris, computer-espionage nerds, with provocative chat, their relation to James Bond’s activities unclear until Xenia (Famke Janssen) arrives with Ourumov (Gottfried John), in Goldeneye, 1995.
Goldeneye (1995) - Open, For England Just the beginning of the over ten-minute action prologue, boffo bungee jump (shot at Verzasca Dam, Switzerland) and Pierce Brosnan’s first appearance as Ian Fleming’s James Bond, 007, joined by Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan, 006, in Goldeneye, 1995.
Goldeneye (1995) - No Problem With Female Authority In his signature Aston Martin, on French mountain roads near Monaco, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, six years after the death of a colleague in an anti-Soviet operation, is being evaluated by psychiatrist Caroline (Serena Gordon), then overtaken by Famke Janssen in a Ferrari, early in Goldeneye, 1995.

Trailer

Licence To Kill (1989) -- (Original Trailer) Trailer for Timothy Dalton’s second appearance as James Bond, in the 16th feature in series and the last produced by Albert R. Broccoli, who originated the franchise with Harry Saltzman, in Licence To Kill, 1989, with Robert Davi, Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto.
Living Daylights, The (1987) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer introducing Timothy Dalton as the fourth James Bond in the original series, in the 15th feature, The Living Daylights, 1987, with Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbé and John Rhys-Davies.
For Your Eyes Only (1981) -- (Original Trailer) Trailer promoting the 12th James Bond feature from Eon productions, the fifth with Roger Moore, and the first of five directed by John Glen, For Your Eyes Only, 1981, with Carole Bouquet as the romantic interest and Chaim Topol as the primary villain Columbo.
Octopussy (1983) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for the 13th outing for James Bond and Roger Moore’s sixth in the title role, in the only feature named for the Bond “girl,” in this case, Maud Adams as Octopussy, 1983, with Louis Jourdan as the villain Kamak Khan, from two Ian Fleming short stories.
View To A Kill, A (1985) -- Original Trailer Trailer for the 14th Eon Productions and MGM/UA James Bond Feature (the first to follow the independent or “unofficial” Sean Connery feature Never Say Never Again, 1983), with Roger Moore, Christopher Walken the villain (assisted by Grace Jones) and Tanya Roberts, from TV’s Charlie’s Angels, as Bond-girl Stacey.
Man With The Golden Gun, The (1974) -- (Original Trailer) A particularly literal representation of the title, in the trailer for the 9th James Bond feature, Roger Moore’s second appearance, with Christopher Lee as scary Scaramanga, and somewhat dual Bond-girls, Maud Adams and Britt Ekland, in The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974.
Live And Let Die (1973) -- (Original Trailer) Fans today might forget that Jane Seymour was “introduced” as a Bond girl in the eighth feature in the series, with Roger Moore in his first outing, and Yaphet Kotto the chief villain, with no trace in the trailer of the hit theme song by Paul & Linda McCartney and Wings, from Live And Let Die, 1973.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) -- (Original Trailer) There’s a case to be made that the producers overshot the mark in compensating for the absence of Sean Connery, in the sixth James Bond feature, giving George Lazenby possibly more promotion than he needed, in the ever-reëvaluated On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969, with Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas.
From Russia With Love (1964) -- (Original Trailer) James Bond (Sean Connery) is tempted with a Russian decoder and a beautiful blonde in From Russia With Love (1963).
Goldfinger (1964) -- (Original Trailer) United Artists and producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli’s trailer for the hit third James Bond feature, starring Sean Connery, with Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Harold Sakata as Oddjob, and Gert Fröbe as the title character, in Goldfinger, 1964.
You Only Live Twice (1967) -- (Original Trailer) Sean Connery as James Bond winds up in Japan, investigating a space hijacking, in the fifth 007 feature from producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, You Only Live Twice, 1967, with Akiko Wakabayashi.
Thunderball (1965) -- (Original Trailer) Sean Connery as 007 winds up chasing nuclear bombs in the Bahamas, Terence Young directing, Claudine Auger as Domino, and Adolfo Celi as the villain Largo, in the fourth and biggest-yet James Bond feature, Thunderball, 1965.

Family

Barbara Broccoli
Daughter
Producer. Worked with father on James Bond films; married producer Fred Zollo December 24, 1991 in Beverly Hills, CA; survived him.
Tina Broccoli
Daughter
Survived him.
Tony Broccoli
Son
Survived him.
Michael G Wilson
Step-Son
Producer. Survived him.

Companions

Dana Broccoli
Wife
Writer. Survived him.

Bibliography

"When the Snow Melts: The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli"
Albert Broccoli with Donald Zec, Boxtree (1998)

Notes

Awarded Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Received Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French government

"If Cubby Broccoli were on fire, I wouldn't piss on him to put out the flames." --Sean Connery

On his prickly relationship with Connery during the filming of the Bond movies, Broccoli reportedly said: "It all happened years ago and Sean's lack of grace at the time has ceased to bother me. My only regret is that his maturity as an actor was not matched by a similar maturity as an adult."