Birth Date: September 9, 1939
Birth Place: Australia
Born September 9th, 1939 in Goulburn, Australia...this model turned actor will forever be a question mark in the series, a trivia answer on Jeaporady! and an enigma and controversial topic of conversation for diehard Bond fans.
To be fair to Lazenby, it wasn`t easy being the first actor to try and replace Sean Connery. Nor could it have been easy jumping into the material he was given to start off with (the love and death of Bond`s wife, Tracy). But Lazenby also made it harder on himself than was neccessary.
At the time the Bond talent hunt was under way in 1968, Lazenby was working as a male model and car salesman in London. On the advice of his agent, he made solid plans to challenge each and every eligible male actor for the role. Considering the lengths Lazenby went to to get the role, one has to wonder why he became so cavalier about returning to it. He spent his last pound on acquiring a tailor made suit from Sean Connery`s clothier, along with a very Bondish Rolex watch. A chance encounter with series producer Cubby Broccoli in a hair salon gave Lazenby his first shot at getting the role. Broccoli made a mental note to remember Lazenby as a possible candidate.
Lazenby was up against John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Robert Campbell and Hans de Vries, but Lazenby won the role based on a screen-test fight scene.Several months went by while hundreds of other men auditioned for the role. On the strength of his interviews, fight skills, audition footage and lack of substantial competition, Lazenby got the role. From there the situation went downhill.
Lazenby`s ego went to his head. Instant success spoiled him before filming even began. He told Life magazine, which had been given exclusive access to the search for a new 007, this much about his attitude of taking on the role: "I`m looking forward to being Bond for the broads and the bread." The situation became tense and bitter during the filming, with tabloid reports exaggerating some elements of the filming, while other rumors ran rampant that Diana Rigg disliked Lazenby so much that she ate garlic before each scene in which they kissed.
Lazenby received some bad advice that led him to believe that one outing as Bond would be enough to make him an international superstar; a man that didn`t need Bond to get acting roles. Before On Her Majesty`s Secret Service premiere, Lazenby announced to the world that this would be his first and last turn as James Bond. Broccoli cautioned Lazenby to rethink his position; that if he chose this path, Lazenby would never amount to anything of an actor and never get offers beyond "Spaghetti Westerns". Cubby was right.
Lazenby took a year long cruise around the world after `Majesty` debuted, refreshed and ready to get back to work. The only problem was that Lazenby was a cold commodity, and the scripts were definitely not piling up on his agent`s desk.
In his post-Bond career, Lazenby acted in a few tv movies, soft core porn, and B-grade films. During the early 1970s, Lazenby worked in Hong Kong, and was going to make a film with Bruce Lee right before the actor`s death. He took several years off from show business to race cars and tend to his sick son, who died of brain cancer at 19 years of age. He often attends 007 conventions and has recently moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles to resume his acting career. His most recent notable credits have included a guest appearance on Diagnosis: Murder, and The Pretender, as Jarrod`s father.
Over the years, George Lazenby's portrayal of Bond has been reduced to a trivia answer. Often ignored during TV marathons, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is probably the least known Bond film to date. However, I would like to say up front that I like George Lazenby and his one movie. If he had been given the chance to grow into the role he would have far surpassed Roger Moore as a credible and good James Bond.
Lazenby showed much promise during On Her Majesty's Secret Service. He delivered his lines well and it seemed as though he had the beginnings of a successful characterization of Bond. Hard edged at times, Lazenby also had the ability to turn on his charm as is seen when he seduces Ruby and Nancy in Piz Gloria. He really got the chance to flex his acting muscles during the final scene of the film when he holds his dead wife in his arms and weeps.
As I mentioned earlier, all George Lazenby needed was a few more films to become a truly great James Bond. One needs to look no further than Connery, Moore and Brosnan's first Bond films. All of theirs were rough around the edges and needed some refinement for the character. With time they all got it down to a science. Unfortunately, Lazenby did not have all the time in the world.
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