- "SPECTRE is a dedicated fraternity whose strength lies in the absolute integrity of its members."
- ― Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a fictional character and a supervillain from the James Bond series of novels and films, who was created by Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory. An evil genius with aspirations of world domination, he is the archenemy of the British Secret Service agent James Bond and is head of the global criminal organisation SPECTRE. It was initially a convention of the films not to show Blofeld's face, only a closeup of him stroking his white blue-eyed Turkish Angora.
Beginning in 1962, the EON series of Bond films placed a far greater emphasis on the SPECTRE organisation, which effectively replaced SMERSH as the primary antagonists of the early movies. As a result of this move, SPECTRE's leader, Blofeld, also plays a more prominent role than he had in the novels.
Blofeld’s appearance and personality change according to the personifying actor: He has a full head of black hair in From Russia With Love and Thunderball; a facial dueling scar in You Only Live Twice; no scar or earlobes in On Her Majesty's Secret Service; and silver-grey hair in Diamonds Are Forever. This metamorphosing matches Fleming’s literary portrayal of a master criminal who will go to great lengths to preserve his anonymity, including the use of radical plastic surgery. He often wears a jacket without lapels, based loosely either on the Nehru jacket or on the Mao suit, a feature which is used in spoofs like the Austin Powers series.
Film biographyAlthough not present in the novel, Blofeld makes his first on-screen appearance in From Russia with Love, portrayed by Anthony Dawson and voiced by Eric Pohlmann. Both men remained uncredited, the end credits listed a question mark instead of an actor’s name. In this appearance his face is not seen and only his lower body is visible as he strokes his trademark white cat, discussing a plan to avenge the death of their member Doctor Julius No by setting a trap that will put Bond and Russian agent Tatiana Romanova in a position where it will appear that they killed each other while escaping to escalate tensions in the Cold War.
After being absent from Goldfinger, Blofeld returned in Thunderball. Again, his identity was concealed, this time behind shutters and glass, as he chairs a meeting of the upper echelons of SPECTRE, planning a scheme involving stolen nuclear warheads to blackmail the United Kingdom. As in the novel, Blofeld demonstrates his ruthlessness by personally executing a disloyal member.
In these early appearances he wore a black business suit, rather than the Nehru jacket or Mao suit he would later become associated with. In Thunderball it can be seen he has a full head of dark hair.