John Gavin dead: Psycho and Spartacus actor who almost became Bond dies aged 86

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The American star almost replaced George Lazenby as 007 in 1971

 

 

John Gavin, a Hollywood veteran who appeared in classic films Psycho and Spartacus, has died aged 86.

The American actor who once served as US ambassador to Mexico under Ronald Reagan, died Friday morning (9 February) after a battle with leukaemia.

Gavin – real name John Anthony Golenor – enjoyed a high profile in Hollywood following his debut lead role in Douglas Sirk film A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958), a melodrama revered for its depiction of Germans towards the end of WWII made just 14 years after it ended. Gavin starred in Imitation of Life a year later alongside Lana Turner and Sandra Dee.

He followed that up with a role in Alfred Hitchock’s horror Classic Psycho, in which he played Sam Loomis, the boyfriend of Janet Leigh’s doomed Marion Crane, and Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-winning epic Spartacus as Julius Caesar opposite Kirk Douglas’ titular slave.

After roles in Midnight LaceRomanoff and Juliet and Back Street, Gavin jumped to TV roles including Western series Destry before almost signing on to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever(1971) following George Lazenby’s departure. The role eventually returned to Sean Connery.

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He later served as Screen Actors Guild president between the years of 1971 and 1973 and, having served under Reagan as US ambassador to Mexico, considered running for the Senate in 1991.

He is survived by his wife, actress Constance Towers, two children and two step-children.

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