German Actor Gottfried John Dies at 72

Gottfried John played Bond villain Gen. Ourumov in 'Goldeneye'

The actor worked with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and was James Bond's nemesis in 'Goldeneye'

German character actor Gottfried John, star of German stage, film and television who found international success as a James Bond villain, died this week of cancer. He was 72.

John was one of a generation of German actors to emerge after World War 2 who took German theater and film in a new direction. He was part of the acting troupe surrounding directing legend Rainer Werner Fassbinder and shot several films with him, including The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lili Marleen and the acclaimed TV series Berlin Alexanderplatz.

John's international breakthrough came in 1995 playing General Ourumov, the villain in the James Bond film Goldeneye. A number of international features followed, including starring alongside John Malkovich in Volker Schlondorff's The Ogre (1996); playing Julius Caesar in French comic book adaptation Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (1999), co-starring Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu; and as a kidnap victim in Proof of Life (2000) with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan.

In Germany, John was a regular on stage, film and TV and continued to work until his illness made that impossible. One of his later roles was doing the German voice of Shifu in Kung Fu Panda 2, adapting the role done in the original by Dustin Hoffman.

Gottfried John died in Munich on Sept. 1. He is survived by his wife.

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