This hurts. Bernie Casey was one of the coolest dudes from the '70s. He did a lot of Blaxploitation flicks, like Cleopatra Jones, and was a tough guy in a lot of his movies, but he was versatile.
I well remember Bernie Casey from Cornbread, Earl and Me, one of Laurence Fishburne's earliest movies, about a trio of neighborhood kids who suffered a tragedy when Cornbread, a budding high-school basketball star, is shot and killed by police officers who were chasing someone else, an assault suspect. Casey was one of the police officers, who realizes the mistake while testifying at the trial.
I also remember him from The Sophisticated Gents, an NBC miniseries about the reunion of the members of an athletic club to honor their mentor -- but there are troubles that make the gathering less-than-happy.
And, of course, Casey was one of the guys who played Felix Lieter, in Never Say Never Again.
He will be missed.
Bernie Casey was one of the better of the many (many) Felix Lieters... not in the way Fleming described him, but in the way Casey portrayed his relationship with James Bond.
He turned up in a two-part Deep Space Nine, which I gather he did mostly because he wanted to work with Avery Brooks, an actor he admired.
There are certain actors whom one always enjoys watching, no matter what the rôle, because of something in their presence that just compels one to watch them. I don't believe this can be attributed to acting skill; I feel it's something in the personality of the man (which is not to say that such persons are not also good actors).
My first memory of Bernie Casey as an actor was in a 1972 Movie of the Week (for those of you who remember MOW's) titled Gargoyles. It was overblown, as MOW's tended to be, and Casey portrayed the leader of a horde of gargoyles preparing to unleash themselves upon man. Despite the thick make-up and cheesy dialogue and the fact that the character was thoroughly evil, Casey brought dignity to the character.
That was Bernie Casey's gift of presence; he brought dignity to every rôle he ever played. You had to watch him for that. And yes, Jeff is right when he says that Casey was the best of so many screen Felix Leiters. Not just because he played the kind of man that one would believe James Bond would have as a close friend, but also because Casey's Leiter was clearly able to pull his own weight in the adventure (as opposed to being one of the Leiters who spent most of the film saying, "What do we do now, James?").
I can see why he admired Avery Brooks. Brooks had that same quality of dignity that he did. They are both actors whom I could watch eminently, even if I despised the kinds of characters they were playing.
Great film I remember seeing way back then once. Years ago the TV guide announced Gargoyles was going to be on somewhere back in the 90s. Waited all week for it. Despite the advertisement they were running the movie it turned out they were just running the Disney Gargoyles. Finally many years later I got to see it again on youtube.
I have both Netflix streaming and DVD services. They have the DVD for rental, so I'm moving it close to the top of my list. Whenever I've watched Bernie Casey I've enjoyed his acting.