Jan Werich was a Czech actor. In 1967 he was cast as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the villain in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. After several days of filming, producer Albert R. Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert felt that he was not menacing enough to portray the archfiend as he resembled a "poor, benevolent Santa Claus." Werich was let go from the role, the official explanation being given as health reasons, and replaced by British actor Donald Pleasence, who subsequently became iconic as the character.
Jan Werich died in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1980. He was 75 years old.