Grunther was the fictional head of security of Ernst Stavro Blofeld's clinical allergy-research institute atop Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps. A major antagonist portrayed by Russian wrestler and actor, Yuri Borienko, the character appeared in the 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
A stocky and imposing man, Grunther is Ernst Stavro Blofeld's head of security at the Piz Gloria allergy clinic; the SPECTRE chief's Alpine hideout. When James Bond infiltrates Blofeld's clinic under the guise of genealogist, Sir Hillary Bray, he is sent along with Blofeld's closest aide Irma Bunt to pick up the spy at the Swiss train station, Lauterbrunnen. After welcoming Bond to Switzerland, Bunt instructs Grunther to take his luggage and they leave for the clinic.
After arriving at Piz Gloria, Grunther discreetly examines Bond's luggage before taking him to his room. Bunt explains that Grunther will open his externally locked door and escort him if he needs to leave his suite. This 'complicated arrangement' is in place for all Blofeld's guests; supposedly to prevent them from disturbing one another. Consequently, Bond is under his constant supervision during his stay at the clinic.
The following morning he is seen forcefully denying Bond's Swiss contact, Shaun Campbell access to the Piz Gloria clinic as the man attempts to use the cable car, shouting him out the door and closing it after him. Campbell subsequently tries to scale the mountain face, but is caught by Grunther and his security team while Bond is curling with the other guests. He is escorted back down via cable car and, unbeknownst to Bond, killed with an undisclosed method.
Later that evening, Bond lets himself into one of the patients' rooms as he had been doing throughout his stay, only to be greeted by Frauleïn Bunt, hiding in the guest's bed, and Grunther, who knocks him unconscious with a blow to the back of the head. Aware of his identity, Blofeld and Grunther escort 007 to be locked in the room where the cable car's mechanical components are installed. On the way, Blofeld takes the opportunity to point out Campbell's corpse hanging from the rockface outside. Bond tries to attack him, but is restrained by Grunther and another guard.
Hunting and death
Bond quickly escapes from the cable car room and takes to the slopes on a stolen pair of skis. His escape doesn't go unnoticed and Grunther frantically alerts Blofeld by phone. Taking a team of men with him, he pursues Bond down the mountain before losing control and crashing into a tree. Bond temporarily evades his pursuers and reunites with his fiancée, Tracy, in a nearby village before being relocated by Blofeld and Grunther the following day. The chase resumes across the road, through Lauterbrunnen again and then the alps, concluding with Blofeld launching a flair and causing an avalanche which buries 007 and Tracy.
Assuming Bond to be dead, Grunther is dispatched to take the incapacitated Tracy back to Piz Gloria. However, Bond survives the incident and returns to London. The next day, he returns and assaults the clinic with the help of Tracy's father, Marc-Ange Draco. Grunther alerts Blofeld to Draco's incoming helicopters, only to have the mastermind dismiss the warning, thinking they are harmless delivery choppers. As chaos ensues, Grunther is ordered by Blofeld to deal with Tracy with another guard. The two fight hand-to-hand, with the girl wielding a broken bottle and the guard holding a cudgel. Tracy manages to knock him down the stairs through a wall or ornamental rings and he is ultimately killed when she throws him against a set of decorative wall spikes, stabbing him through the back.
Behind the scenes
In his role as a stuntman, Yuri Borienko was one of the people who assisted in the auditioning of George Lazenby for the part of James Bond. In 1968, Lazenby was required to 'fight' Borienko as part of his screen test at Pinewood Studios. During this, Lazenby punched the wrestler unexpectedly and broke his nose on accident.
- Despite his Swiss nationality, Grunther is played by the Russian Yuri Borienko.
- (2001) Kiss Kiss Bang! Bang!: the Unofficial James Bond Film Companion. Batsford Books. ISBN 978-0-7134-8182-2.