Christopher Wood, Screenwriter for Two James Bond Films, Dies at 79

Christopher Wood -SQ 2015
Courtesy Caroline Wood

He was on board for 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'Moonraker,' wrote the Remo Williams movie and adapted four of his Timothy Lea novels for bawdy 1970s films.

Christopher Wood, a novelist who wrote the screenplays for the back-to-back James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, has died. He was 79.

Wood, who later adapted the work of novelists Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy for the screenplay for Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), starring Fred Ward, died May 9 in his apartment in southwest France, his daughter, Caroline Wood, told The Hollywood Reporter.

She said his health had deteriorated after the death of her brother Ben, 48, who had died of cancer.
His daughter, an agent and director at the U.K. literary agency Felicity Bryan Associates, added that her father was a private man who “wouldn’t  necessarily have wanted an obituary,” she said. “It was not his way.”

Director Lewis Gilbert called upon Wood to help with the screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), which had employed writers including Stirling Silliphant, John Landis, Anthony Burgess and Richard Maibaum before he arrived. (Wood and Maibaum wound up with the writing credit.)

Wood and Gilbert then returned for Moonraker (1979), with Wood getting sole writing credit. Both those films starred Roger Moore as Bond in his third and fourth (of his seven) 007 films.

“How sad to hear Bond screenwriter Christopher Wood has died,” Moore wrote on Twitter. “He wrote two of my best.”

Gilbert, who had directed the Sean Connery Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), had thought of Wood for The Spy Who Loved Me after they had collaborated on the Michael York movie Seven Nights in Japan (1976).

“Out of the blue he rang me up and asked if I would like to write a Bond movie. I thought he was joking,” Wood once said in an interview.

“He had a fantastic sense of humor, a fantastic way with words, very witty,” Caroline said. “Roger Moore was at his best on those films.”

Wood also authored tie-in novelizations for his two Bond movies, working on them during production. “If I had a different or a better idea, it was too late to incorporate it in the movie,” he said, so he put it in the book.

In the 1970s, Wood also penned the screenplays for four movies adapted from his bawdy Timothy Lea novels (Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Confessions From a Holiday Camp, all starring Robin Askwith as the protagonist) and one from the first of his promiscuous Rosie Dixon books (Rosie Dixon — Night Nurse, starring Debbie Ash).

A graduate of Cambridge who did military service in Cyprus and Africa, Wood wrote 19 novels from the Timothy Lea prospective, nine from the viewpoint of Rosie Dixon, five as stewardess Penny Sutton and three as Oliver Grape, a sexually frustrated 14-year-old.

Wood also is survived by his son Adam, a TV producer.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4