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|Born||Friedrich Strobel von Stein
March 11, 1928
|Died||July 28, 1979
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.
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.
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).
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
- 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