Frederick Stafford

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Frederick Stafford
Born Friedrich Strobel von Stein
(1928-03-11)March 11, 1928
Died July 28, 1979(1979-07-28) (aged 51)
Occupation actor
Years active 1965–1977
Spouse(s) Marianne Hold

Frederick Stafford (11 March 1928 – 28 July 1979) was a Czech-born actor. Born Friedrich Strobel von Stein, he spoke fluent Czech, German, English, French and Italian, and was a leading man in European spy-movies.

Early life[edit]

By some accounts, Stafford claimed to have played water polo at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Fluent in five languages, he moved to Australia in the 1950s and held a series of positions in the pharmaceutical industry.[1]

Film career[edit]

In 1964 French director André Hunebelle discovered Stafford on holiday at a hotel in Bangkok and asked him "How would you like to make movies with me?" Stafford replied, "Why not?," and replaced Kerwin Mathews to play an agent code-named OSS 117 in two Bond-like-adventures. He co-starred in the first one with Mylène Demongeot, and in the second with Marina Vlady. He also appeared in macaroni combat war-films (The Battle of El Alamein) and in Michel Boisronds thriller Million Dollar Man alongside Anny Duperey.

These movies brought the attention of Alfred Hitchcock, who signed him in 1968 to play the leading role as agent André Devereaux in Topaz (1969), but the film was not a success. The casting of Stafford, whose performance was found lacking by critics,[weasel words] was largely blamed for its failure. Channel4 claimed, "Heading the international cast is a very wooden Stafford, who is no Cary Grant."

He made a come-back in 1972 as Commissario Luca Micelli in the Italian Giallo Shadows Unseen. Five years after Topaz, he starred with French actress Claude Jade (who had played his daughter in Topaz) in the Italian thriller La ragazza di via Condotti (Meurtres à Rome/Special Killers) (1973/74). In that movie, Stafford's character has a brief platonic romance with Jade's character despite a 20-year age difference. His last successes were the Spanish Movies Blood and Passion (1975) and White Horses of Summer (1975, starring Jean Seberg, his co-star from 1966 Estouffade à la Caraïbe), the Italian thriller Werewolf Man (1976) and the Spanish-Italian-French coproduction Hold-Up (1977).

Personal life[edit]

He married German actress Marianne Hold who he met whilst both of them were in Bangkok. His son is the singer Roderick Stafford, who was born in 1964.


Stafford died in 1979 in a collision of two aircraft above Lake Sarnen, Switzerland. A Morane-Saulnier Rallye piloted by Czech-born Pavel Krahulec, M.D., and in which Stafford was a passenger collided with a Piper aircraft, piloted by businessman Alois Fischer of Thoune, Switzerland[2]


Year Title Roles Director co-starring Notes
1965 OSS 117 Mission for a Killer Hubert Bonnisseur de la Bath, alias OSS 117 André Hunebelle Mylène Demongeot, Raymond Pellegrin
1966 Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut Richard Blake / Agent 505 Manfred R. Köhler Geneviève Cluny (fr), Harald Leipnitz, Willy Birgel
Atout coeur à Tokyo pour OSS 117 Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, alias OSS 117 Michel Boisrond Marina Vlady
1967 Dirty Heroes Joe Mortimer, Sesame Alberto De Martino Daniela Bianchi, Curd Jürgens, Adolfo Celi, Michel Constantin, John Ireland
Estouffade à la Caraïbe (fr) Sam Morgan Jacques Besnard (fr) Jean Seberg
L'Homme qui valait des milliards (de) Jean Sarton Michel Boisrond Anny Duperey, Peter van Eyck, Raymond Pellegrin
1969 The Battle of El Alamein Lt. Giorgio Borri Giorgio Ferroni George Hilton, Robert Hossein, Michael Rennie, Ira von Fürstenberg
Eagles Over London Captain Paul Stevens Enzo G. Castellari Van Johnson, Francisco Rabal
Topaz Andre Devereaux Alfred Hitchcock Dany Robin, Claude Jade, Karin Dor, John Vernon, John Forsythe, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret
1972 Shadows Unseen Commissioner Luca Miceli Camillo Bazzoni Marilù Tolo, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Raymond Pellegrin, Judy Winter
1973 La ragazza di via Condotti Sandro Mattei Germán Lorente (es) Claude Jade, Michel Constantin
Metti che ti rompo il muso Rocky Miller Giuseppe Vari Silvia Monti, Massimo Mollica
1974 Hold-Up Robert Cunningham Germán Lorente (es) Nathalie Delon, Marcel Bozzuffi
1975 White Horses of Summer Nicholas Kingsburg Raimondo Del Balzo Jean Seberg
La trastienda (es) Doctor Navarro Jorge Grau Rosanna Schiaffino
1976 Werewolf Woman Inspector Modica Rino Di Silvestro Dagmar Lassander
Sfida sul fondo Valdesio Melciade Coletti Dagmar Lassander (final film role)


  1. ^ p, 238 Magazanik, Michael Silent Shock: The Men Behind the Thalidomide Scandal and an Australian Family's Long Road to Justice Text Publishing, 22 May 2015
  2. ^

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