Angelo Palazzi was hired to assassinate and impersonate NATO pilot, Major François Derval, as part of SPECTRE's scheme to hijack a British bomber and its atomic payload. He appeared in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball and was portrayed by Paul Stassino.
James Bond first encountered Palazzi at the Shrublands health farm, whilst investigating the suite belonging to sinister Count Lippe. Palazzi, his face covered in bandages, abruptly interrupted Bond's snooping. Saved by a ringing telephone, Bond made a quick exit from the room; unaware that he had been spotted leaving. This encounter led to an attempt on Bond's life by Lippe.
Palazzi spent approximately two years studying Derval, undergoing drastic plastic surgery and vocal training for the role, as well as looking at surveillance footage of Derval and being able to duplicate his body language. He believed this entitled him to a greater sum of money than he had initially been offered; a belief which he forcefully presented to SPECTRE representatives Fiona Volpe and Count Lippe. The day of the NATO exercise, Volpe had seduced the real Derval, who said he needed to get going, only to greeted at the door by Palazzi. Derval was shocked to see his exact double, but the surprise was short as his doppelganger unleashed a vial of nerve gas which killed Derval. Palazzi was then met by Count Lippe who promised him 250,000 English pounds for assassinating Derval, only for Palazzi to demand double given the extensive effort he has made. This angers Lippe, but he is calmed by Volpe, who feigns agreements with Palazzi, claiming time is of the essence. She hands Palazzi an envelope of cash (the original price), promising to have the rest upon successful completion of the mission.
With his appearance and Derval's identification, Palazzi easily breaches security at an air force base and sit in on a briefing about the test run. Mid way through the flight, he opens a larger canister of the same nerve gas he used on Derval, murdering the crew, and taking control of the plane. Palazzi delivers two atomic bombs into the hands of Emilio Largo and SPECTRE by way of an ocean landing. Unable to flee the sunken aircraft, due to a malfunction of his harness, Palazzi signaled to Largo's divers for help. Largo obliged by personally severing the man's oxygen supply, leaving him to drown. Much later in the film, when Bond scuba dives the plane's wreck to investigate, he sees the corpse of Palazzi still seated in the cockpit.
In the novel of Thunderball, the characters of Derval and Palazzi were one in the same individual; Giuseppe Petacchi, a NATO airman who had been bribed by SPECTRE to hijack the plane and bring it to Largo. The choice of Petacchi was largely due to his unequalled skill with aquatic landings and his weakness for women and material gain. On completion of his mission, he was murdered by Vargas.
Behind the scenes
During his death's scene, Palazzi was played by Courtney Brown and Willie Meyers.
- It was unknown if the plan had been to murder him all along in order to keep him quiet, or if Largo had been angered by Palazzi's grabbiness in demanding his fee be doubled. Considering that the literal figure was killed as well, the first option is more likely.
- François Derval
- Fiona Volpe
- Count Lippe
- Giuseppe Petacchi
- List of James Bond villains