Robert James Brown (23 July 1921 – 11 November 2003) was an English actor, best known for his portrayal of M in the James Bond films from 1983 to 1989, succeeding Bernard Lee, who died in 1981. Brown made his first appearance as M in Octopussy in 1983. Brown was born and died in Swanage, Dorset. Before appearing in the Bond films, he had a long career as a bit-part actor in films and television. He had a starring role in the 1950s television series Ivanhoe where he played Gurth, the faithful companion of Ivanhoe, played by Roger Moore. He had previously made an uncredited appearance as a castle guard in the unrelated 1952 film Ivanhoe. He had an uncredited appearance as the galley-master in Ben-Hur (1959) and as factory worker Bert Harker in the BBC's 1960s soap opera The Newcomers. In One Million Years B.C. (1966), he played grunting caveman Akhoba, brutal head of the barbaric "Rock tribe". Brown first started in the James Bond franchise in the film The Spy Who Loved Me as Admiral Hargreaves, appearing alongside Lee. After Lee's death in January 1981, Broccoli and the other producers, decided to leave M out of For Your Eyes Only out of respect for Lee and assigned his lines to M's Chief of Staff Bill Tanner. In 1983, Brown was hired to portray M on the recommendation of Bond actor Roger Moore, his Ivanhoe co-star and the father of Brown's goddaughter Deborah. It was never clearly established if Brown was the same M as Lee's character, or a different M, perhaps a promoted Hargreaves. In 1995, Brown was succeeded as M by Judi Dench in GoldenEye.
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