Frank McRae, James Bond ‘Licence To Kill’ Actor, Dead at 80

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

NFL star turned actor, Frank McRae has died.

Frank McRae, who appeared in the James Bond film “Licence to Kill,” died at the age of 80 on April 29 of a heart attack in Santa Monica. His daughter-in-law, Suzanne McRae, confirmed the news.

McRae’s life was a lot like a movie. He was born in Memphis and attended Tennessee State University where he double-majored in drama and history. After college, McRae landed a spot in the NFL as a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams. However, he didn’t retire after his football career ended. Instead, he moved into the show business. McRae became a successful actor and appeared in over 40 movies. He joined Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Last Action Hero.” He also appeared in “F.I.S.T,” “Paradise Alley,” “Lock Up” and “Rocky II” with Sylvester Stallone. Frank McRae’s resume also includes the films, “Hard Times,” “Norma Rae,” “Red Dawn,” and “Big Wednesday.” 

And, of course, Frank McRae also appeared in the 1989 James Bond film “Licence to Kill.” He played Sharkey, a close friend of Timothy Dalton’s Agent 007 and David Hedison’s Felix Leiter.

Frank McRae Wasn’t Just A Tough Guy, He Starred In Comedy Films As Well

But McRae didn’t just play tough guys. His acting talents were too expansive to stick solely to action-packed dramas. He also expanded his resume to include several comedy films. He appeared in movies including “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “1941,” “Loaded Weapon,” “Batteries Not Included” and “Used Cars.” He also joined actor George C. Scott in the 1974 film “Bank Shot.

And if you’re a television fan wondering where you’ve seen Frank McRae, he appeared alongside Tom Selleck on “Magnum P.I.” He also appeared on shows including “Hill Street Blues,” “Police Story,” “The Rockford Files,” and “Quincy M.E.”

Frank McRae is survived by his son, Marcellus, daughter-in-law Suzanne, and three grandchildren, Camden, Jensen, and Holden. His family is accepting donations in his memory to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The organization is an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.