George Lazenby discusses landing James Bond role in 2012
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After Sean Connery played James Bond in five films, the Scottish star went his separate ways from the 007 franchise. The bosses at MGM and EON then started looking for a new star to take over as the hero. Eventually, after an unorthodox casting routine, they cast Australian actor George Lazenby as the next tuxedoed international spy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However, once the 1969 film was released, he didn’t want to be involved with the franchise anymore.
In an interview with Sir David Frost at the time, Lazenby revealed: “James Bond was me being an actor and I didn’t think anyone can carry on that way.”
This wasn’t the only time he had verbally hit out at the role which changed his life.
Speaking to American TV host Johnny Carson, Lazenby said being Bond was “fun but I don’t want to do it anymore”.
As a result of this, Lazenby decided to start donating a number of things he accumulated from his only Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
According to Lazenby in the 2017 documentary Becoming Bond, in the months that followed OHMSS’ release, he began giving away suitcases of clothes.
Ultimately, he gave away three suitcases of his James Bond suits to the Salvation Army to help those less fortunate than him.
Each of the suits’ labels included the words: “Especially made for George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
He later went on to reveal how he was “broke” for a while after the film was released.
Trailer: Becoming Bond tells the story of George Lazenby
Lazenby, who is now 82-years-old, was paid $50,000 for his role of Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – approximately $320,000 in today’s rates.
After that, he “got into real estate” and has had a “comfortable life” ever since.
He almost became one of the hardest working Bonds of all time, as he was offered an incredible contract to continue playing 007 into the foreseeable future.
Lazenby claimed he was offered a $1 million contract by the franchise bosses to continue playing Bond.
The contract stipulated he would do six more films as the man of mystery – but there were catches.
The Aussie star added that the contract dictated “how he should style his hair” and “what to wear”.
Calling it a “slave contract,” he declined the request.
After Lazenby bowed out of playing Bond again, Connery made a return to the character.
He was hired once again for his sixth film, Diamonds Are Forever, which was released in 1971.
Over ten years later, in 1983, Connery played Bond again on a non-EON film, Never Say Never Again.
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