Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a fictional character and villain from the James Bond series of novels and films, created by Ian Fleming. A criminal mastermind with aspirations of world domination, he is the archenemy of the British Secret Service agent James Bond. Blofeld is head of the global criminal organisation SPECTRE and is commonly referred to by the codename Number 1 within this organisation. The character was originally written by Fleming as a physically massive and powerfully built man, standing around 6'3" and weighing 20 st, who had become flabby with a huge belly.
Blofeld appears or is heard in three novels: Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service; and You Only Live Twice; as well as eight films from Eon Productions: From Russia with Love ; Thunderball ; You Only Live Twice ; On Her Majesty's Secret Service ; Diamonds Are Forever ; For Your Eyes Only ; Spectre ; and No Time to Die. The latter two films are set in a rebooted continuity, which started with Casino Royale. He also appears in Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball that was not produced by Eon.
Blofeld has been played on screen by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, Max von Sydow, and Christoph Waltz, among others. It was initially a convention of the films not to show Blofeld's face, only a close-up of him stroking his white, blue-eyed Persian cat. His face's first appearance is in You Only Live Twice as he introduces himself to Bond after previously appearing in the "traditional" way in earlier parts of the film.
Many of Blofeld's characteristics have become tropes in popular fiction, representing the stock character of the criminal mastermind, with the stroking of his white cat often retained as a parodic allusion to Blofeld's character. This can be seen in the Austin Powers film series with the character of Dr. Evil and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth, or in the cartoons Inspector Gadget, with the character of Dr. Claw, and Danger Mouse, with the character of Baron Silas Greenback.


Ian Fleming includes information about Blofeld's background in his novel Thunderball. According to the novel, Blofeld was born on 28 May 1908 in Gdingen, Imperial Germany ; his father Ernst George Blofeld was Polish, and his mother Maria Stavro Michelopoulos was Greek, hence his Greek name Stavro. After World War I, Blofeld became a Polish national. As a young man, he was well-versed in the social science disciplines, but also in the natural science and technology disciplines. He first graduated from the University of Warsaw with a degree in Political History and Economics, and then from the Warsaw University of Technology with a degree in Engineering and Radionics. He was then hired by the Polish Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs and appointed to a sensitive communication position, which he used for buying and selling stocks at the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Foreseeing World War II, Blofeld made copies of top-secret wires and sold them for cash to Nazi Germany. Before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, he destroyed all records of his existence, then moved first to Sweden, then to Turkey, where he worked for Turkish Radio and began to set up his own private intelligence organisation. During the war, he sold information to both sides. After the defeat of Erwin Rommel, he decided to back the Allied war effort, and was awarded numerous medals by the Allied powers after the war's end. Blofeld then moved temporarily to South America before founding SPECTRE.
In the John Gardner novel For Special Services, Blofeld is depicted as having had a daughter, Nena, with a French prostitute.
Although Fleming himself never confirmed it, it is generally thought that the character of Blofeld was based on real-life Greek arms dealer Basil Zaharoff. It is commonly believed that the name Blofeld was inspired by the English cricket commentator Henry Blofeld's father, with whom Fleming went to school. Henry Blofeld offered on the BBC Radio 4 series Just a Minute that "Ian took my father's name as the name of the baddie."

In novels

Blofeld has three appearances in Ian Fleming's novels. He first appears in a minor role as the leader of SPECTRE in the 1961 novel Thunderball. The plot that he formulates is carried out by his second-in-command Emilio Largo. Blofeld is described physically as a massive man, weighing roughly 20 st, who had previously been a champion amateur weightlifter in his youth before becoming obese in middle age; he has black crew-cut hair, black eyes, heavy eyelashes, a thin mouth, and long pointed hands and feet. He has violet-scented breath from chewing flavored cachous, a habit he adopts whenever he must deliver bad news. A meticulous planner of formidable intellect, he seems to be without conscience but not necessarily insane, and is motivated solely by financial gain. Blofeld's lifestyle is described in one chapter in Thunderball: "For the rest, he didn't smoke or drink and he had never been known to sleep with a member of either sex. He didn't even eat very much."
The novel Thunderball indicates Blofeld wants to be a man of honor. The book describes Blofeld promising that a girl he's holding hostage will be returned unharmed if her father pays the ransom. An agent called "Number 9" is in charge of the hostage and, after the money is paid, he rapes her before returning her home. After learning this, Blofeld kills Number 9 for disobeying orders and returns half the ransom money. In the movie Thunderball, Number 9 is killed for embezzlement rather than rape.
Blofeld is absent from the next novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, though its events take place while Bond is battling SPECTRE in North America. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond learns that Blofeld has altered his appearance radically —he is now tall and thin; has reduced his weight to ; sports long silver hair, a syphilitic infection on his nose, and no earlobes; he wears dark green tinted contact lenses to hide his distinctive eyes. Perhaps less calculating than previously, he is notably saddled with the exploitable weakness of snobbery about his assumed nobility, indicating that he is losing his sanity. He is hiding in Switzerland in the guise of the Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp and Bond defeats his vindictive plans to destroy Britain's agricultural economy. In the final sequence of the novel, Blofeld gets revenge by murdering Bond's new wife, Tracy.
In You Only Live Twice, published in 1964, Blofeld returns and Bond finds him hiding in Japan under the alias Dr. Guntram Shatterhand. He has once again changed his appearance. He has put on some muscle, and has a gold-capped tooth, a fully healed nose, and a drooping grey mustache. Bond describes Blofeld on their confrontation as being "a big man, perhaps six foot three, and powerfully built." It is indicated that Blofeld has by now gone completely insane, as he all but admits himself when Bond levels the accusation. Bond strangles him to death in a fit of rage at the end of the novel. In both On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice, Blofeld is aided in his schemes by Irma Bunt, who is clearly his lover in the latter, and posing as Shatterhand's wife. Bond incapacitates her in their Japanese castle base before it blows up, killing Bunt. The final mention of Blofeld is in the beginning of the next novel, The Man with the Golden Gun, published in 1965.

In films

Blofeld's depiction in film influenced with great effect the depiction of supervillains and that of Mafia bosses both in films and printed media, as, since his first appearance on the big screen in 1963, he established some "standards" imitated for decades, such as mysterious identities, being portrayed stroking a pet and with the face unseen by the spectator or the viewpoint character, and the concept of spectacularly executing underlings who fail to defeat the main protagonist.

Original timeline

In the film series, Blofeld first appears in From Russia with Love, then in Thunderball. In these two appearances, his name is never spoken, his face is not seen, and only his lower body is visible as he strokes his trademark white cat.
Czech actor Jan Werich was originally cast by producer Harry Saltzman to play Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Upon his arrival at the Pinewood set, both producer Albert R. Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert felt that he was a bad choice, resembling a "poor, benevolent Santa Claus." Nonetheless, in an attempt to make the casting work, Gilbert continued filming. After five days, both Gilbert and Broccoli determined that Werich was not menacing enough, and recast Donald Pleasence in the role – the official excuse being that Werich was ill.
In the third, fourth, and fifth appearancesYou Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Foreverhe is the primary antagonist, meeting Bond face-to-face. During the opening sequence of Diamonds Are Forever, he reveals to Bond that some of his men have undergone plastic surgery to become his decoy duplicates.
In the film version of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, he is not Tracy Bond's actual killer. He drives the car from which Irma Bunt fires the fatal shots at Tracy, minutes after she marries Bond.
In a sixth appearancein the pre-credit sequence of For Your Eyes Onlyhe is an anonymous, bald, wheelchair-bound villain trying to kill Bond once again. Blofeld remains unnamed and unlisted in the film's end credits. The only clues to his identity are the trademark white cat, similar clothes to his previous onscreen appearances, the dialogue indicating he and Bond have met before, and the fact that the scene begins with Bond paying his respects at Tracy's grave, often considered by the producers as a means of providing an "immediate continuity link" in the event of a new actor taking the part of Bond. The anonymity of the villain was due to the legal dispute between Kevin McClory and Eon Productions over the Thunderball copyrights.
Blofeld's appearance changes according to the personifying actor and the production. He has a full head of black hair in From Russia With Love and Thunderball; a bald head and a facial dueling scar in You Only Live Twice; a bald head with 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 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, though in his early two appearances on film he wears a black business suit.

Rebooted continuity

By November 2013, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the McClory estate had formally settled the issue with Danjaq and MGM and acquired the full copyright to the characters and concepts of Blofeld and SPECTRE. Blofeld consequently reappeared in Spectre, played by Christoph Waltz, and with a new background. In this continuity, he was born Franz Oberhauser, the son of Hannes Oberhauser, James Bond's legal guardian after being orphaned at the age of 11, making him and Bond adoptive brothers. As a young man, he murdered his father, staged his own death, and took on the alias of "Ernst Stavro Blofeld", using his mother's maiden name. He then assembled the global criminal organisation known as Spectre.
He is revealed to have been trying for years to destroy Bond, whom he resents for having been his father's favourite; he is thus revealed to have been the power behind the villains of the previous three films - Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene, and Raoul Silva - who were all Spectre agents. At the end of the film, Bond has him at gunpoint, but spares his life. M takes Blofeld into custody after helping Bond foil his plan to take control of the world's national security intelligence data. This incarnation again wears a jacket without lapels, has a full head of hair, and is disfigured in the course of the film, echoing the duelling scar of Donald Pleasence's version. He is also briefly shown with a white Persian cat.
Blofeld, again portrayed by Waltz, will appear in the upcoming Bond film No Time to Die.

Table of film appearances

Video games

Blofeld appears in the end of the 2004 video game , with the likeness of Donald Pleasence, voiced by Gideon Emery.
Blofeld is a playable multiplayer character in the 2010 video game GoldenEye 007 for the Wii, with the likeness of Charles Gray.
Blofeld is one of the main characters in the 2012 Craig-era video game 007 Legends, featured in the mission based on On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in which the character is an amalgamation of the first three actors appearing in the official film series. Throughout the game, he is voiced by Glenn Wrage. Legends, released prior to Blofeld's appearance in Spectre, portrays a feud with 007 that is not related to the film, thus rendering the video game non-canonical to the cinematic timeline.


Some of Blofeld's characteristics have become supervillain tropes in popular fiction and media, including the parodies Dr. Claw from the Inspector Gadget animated series, Team Rocket leader Giovanni and his Persian cat from the Pokémon television series, and Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers film series. The 1999 The Powerpuff Girls episode "Cat Man Do" also features a supervillain with a cat, though it is the feline that turns out to be the criminal mastermind. In The Penguins of Madagascar, the recurring villain Dr. Blowhole is a parody and homage to Blofeld. The rendition for Lex Luthor in , and to a certain extent, various entries of the DC Animated Universe, were derived in part from Telly Savalas' portrayal of Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Similar to The Powerpuff Girls example, General Viggo is the villain of the video game Fur Fighters, whilst his pet is a small mutant human named Fifi.
In Hindi Film Shaan, the main antagonist was inspired by Blofeld.