Lazenby's physique and good looks stood him in good stead and he became one of London's most highly paid male models.
In 1968, the search was on for a new Bond to replace Sean Connery, and George Lazenby (whose only 'acting' experience had been in a commercial for Fry's chocolate) was very keen to land the role. With Timo
Many believe OHMSS to be one of the best Bond films, as it was very close to Ian Fleming's novel, and didn't rely on 'gadgets', even though the later part is almost non-stop action. In addition to Louis Armstrong's memorable theme song, the film also had the sub-plot of Bond's short-lived marriage to Teresa di Vicenzo (or Tracey Draco) who is dramatically shot dead at the end of the film.
On taking the part of 007, George Lazenby had Sean Connery's standards to live up to, and one film was not really enough for him to develop his character, and prove just how good a 'Bond' he might have become.
It has been said that Lazenby was very difficult to work with during the film's production, when relationships with director Peter Hunt and Bond Girl Diana Rigg were often strained. Although Cubby Broccoli is reputed to have said of Lazenby, "he is a pain in the ass," the Bond producer offered the actor a contract to make 7 more Bond films. Lazenby turned this down, much to his later regret.
George Lazenby was born in Australia in 1939. His father, George, was a railway worker and his mother, Sheila, was a shop assistant. After a period in the Australian army, where he was a black-belt martial arts instructor, he came to London in 1964. Into cars, he was a mechanic and
Working in Hong Kong during the early 70s, Lazenby was going to make a film with Bruce Lee, just before that actor's untimely death. The two actors knew each other well through their shared interest in martial arts.
Telly Savalas & George Lazenby
With Diana Rigg in OHMSS
George Lazenby as 007 in OHMSS
As Ryker in Universal Soldier
As Major Charles in The Pretender
Pam & George, with young George!
One of the photos that George has signed for me
Event programme signed by many of the guests
I first met George Lazenby at a Pinewood event organised by Bondstars in June 2005. I was very excited as George was the first 007 that I had met.
I was very pleased to see him again at Memorabilia a few weeks later. We had a chat and he signed some items for me.
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I met George again at the Autographica event held in Birmingham in April 2009. I got this super photograph with him at the reception before the Gala dinner.
George Lazenby in 1969
Timothy Dalton thought to look too young, and Roger Moore still under contract making The Saint, more than 400 hopefuls auditioned for the role. Cubby Broccoli thought Lazenby looked right for Bond, with his martial arts ability and screen-test fights finally swaying the balance. George Lazenby appeared as 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969.
and then salesman of expensive cars.
Lazenby as Bond
Peter Hunt & George Lazenby on the set of OHMSS
George Lazenby's later films and TV roles included Kentucky Fried Movie (1974), The Man From Hong Kong (1975) and The Pretender (1999), but none has done anything to improve his reputation as an actor.
Lazenby was married to Christina Gannett from 1971 to 1995 and they had two children. In 2002, Lazenby married former tennis star, Pam Shriver, after they met met
during the Wimbledon tournament in 2000. They had a son George, and then twins born in 2005, but later divorced in 2008 citing 'irreconcilable differences'.
Ciaran Brown meeting George Lazenby at Memorabilia in 2005
The 'Trivia' pages of the IMDb website on both George Lazenby and OHMSS, make for fascinating reading, as does the Jeremy Clarkson interview - just follow the links below!
Lithograph by Jeff Marshall featuring Lazenby in
On Her Majesty's Secret Service