George Lazenby: Wikis

  
  

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George Lazenby

Lazenby at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan.
Born George Robert Lazenby
September 5, 1939 (1939-09-05) (age 70)
Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia
Spouse(s) Christina Gannett (1971-1995)
Pam Shriver (2002-2008)

George Robert Lazenby (pronounced /ˈleɪzənbi/; born 5 September 1939[1]) is an Australian actor and former model, best known for portraying James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Contents

Early life

Lazenby was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia. Before becoming an actor, Lazenby worked as an auto mechanic, car salesman and model.[2] In 1968, Lazenby was cast as James Bond, despite his only previous acting experience being in commercials, and his only film appearance being a bit-part in a 1965 Italian-made Bond spoof, Espionage in Tangiers.[3] Lazenby won the role based on a screen-test fight scene, the strength of his interviews, fight skills, and audition footage.[4]

Career

James Bond (1969)

Although he had previously worked in television advertising and an Italian spy themed B-movie, Lazenby's first serious acting role was as James Bond in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Lazenby is the second actor to portray the British secret agent in a Bond feature film after Sean Connery, who had become a cultural icon in the role.

In 1967, after five James Bond films, Sean Connery quit the role. In his place Albert R. Broccoli initially chose actor Timothy Dalton. However, Dalton declined, believing himself too young for the role.[5] Harry Saltzman considered Roger Moore, but he was unavailable because of his television programme The Saint. Saltzman also briefly considered Jeremy Brett for the role of Bond after seeing his performance in My Fair Lady. The confirmed front runners were John Richardson, Hans de Vries, Robert Campbell and Anthony Rogers.[6]

Broccoli chose Lazenby after seeing him in a commercial.[7] Lazenby dressed the part by sporting several sartorial Bond elements such as a Rolex Submariner wristwatch and a Savile Row suit (ordered, but uncollected, by Connery), Lazenby recalled in an interview.[8] Broccoli noticed Lazenby as a Bond-type man, physique and the character elements, and offered him an audition. The position was consolidated when Lazenby accidentally punched a professional wrestler, who was acting as stunt coordinator, in the face, impressing Broccoli with his ability to display aggression. As a result, he was offered a contract for seven movies, but was convinced by his agent Ronan O'Rahilly that the secret agent would be archaic in the liberated 1970s and left the series in 1969.[7] Lazenby's voice was dubbed over with George Baker's[9] in scenes in which Bond impersonated Sir Hilary Bray (Baker's character), something not traditionally done with a leading actor whose original language is English. According to an interview, his difficulties stemmed from director Peter R. Hunt's refusal to speak directly with him, and brusqueness in asking Lazenby's friends to clear the set before filming.[10] Lazenby and leading lady Diana Rigg disliked each other intensely. Rigg reportedly ate food with garlic before filming any scenes requiring her to kiss Lazenby.[11]

Lazenby's reviews were generally underwhelming. Many felt that he is physically convincing but looks foolish in his many loud costume changes and delivers his lines poorly.[12] The film also featured the only breaking of the "fourth wall" (the actor breaking the boundary between the setting and its audience) in the official EON-produced Bond series. (This also occurs in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again (1983) when Sean Connery winks to the audience). Lazenby cracks, in reference to Connery's Bond: "This never happened to the other fellow."[13]

Lazenby has portrayed James Bond several times over the years in numerous parodies and unofficial 007 roles, most notably the 1983 TV movie The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and an episode of The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, entitled "Diamonds Aren't Forever".

Other work

Lazenby has portrayed The Marlboro Man in cigarette advertising.

Despite starring in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie (the combined gross earnings of which exceeded $100 million worldwide in the 1970s, then the standard establishing an actor as a box office success), Lazenby's acting career did not flourish.

In the 1970s, Lazenby was set to work in Hong Kong with Bruce Lee. A planned luncheon meeting with Lee and Raymond Chow to discuss a movie project for the Golden Harvest film Game of Death collapsed after Lee's sudden death, although Lazenby would still go on to make three of the four films he signed to do with Lee in Hong Kong, The Shrine of Ultimate Bliss (1974), The Man from Hong Kong (1975) (also known as The Dragon Files), and A Queen's Ransom (1976). Lazenby was only featured with archive footage when Game of Death was finally released in 1978, after a five-year delay caused by Lee's death while it was still in production.

Lazenby also made a guest appearance on the popular TV series Superboy, playing Jor-El, Superboy's biological father, during the show's second season in 1990. He appeared with Sylvia Kristel in several new Emmanuelle films in the 1990s.

Influence on pop culture

Lazenby's singular portrayal of the iconic Bond character has led to other actors being called "the George Lazenby of" various entertainment franchises. Referring to the Batman film series, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said "George Clooney is the big zero of the film, and should go down in history as the George Lazenby of the series."[14] Actor Paul McGann has described himself with good humour as "the George Lazenby of Doctor Who" because, although he has continued in the role of the Eighth Doctor in other media, he made only one appearance on TV as the Time Lord. In a 2006 episode of The Daily Show, comedian John Oliver suggested that Pope Benedict XVI is the George Lazenby of the papacy, in comparison to "John Paul II's Sean Connery".

Legacy

The song "Like Lazenby", which appears on Sondre Lerche's album Heartbeat Radio, is a tribute to Lazenby's career.

Personal life

In August 2008, it was reported that Lazenby's wife, former tennis player Pam Shriver, had filed for divorce from Lazenby. Documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court cite "irreconcilable differences" for the end of the couple's six-year marriage. The couple have three children, including twins born in 2005.[15]

Selected filmography

References

  1. ^ George Lazenby biography at New York Times
  2. ^ Lazenby bio at Klast.net
  3. ^ "Happy 69th Birthday, George Lazenby!" commanderbond.net; September 5, 2008
  4. ^ Lazenby bio at MI6.co.uk
  5. ^ Inside The Living Daylights. [DVD]. MGM Home Entertainment. 
  6. ^ "Finalists in competition for pick as new James Bond."
  7. ^ a b Inside On Her Majesty's Secret Service. [DVD]. OHMSS Ultimate Edition DVD: MGM Home Entertainment Inc.. 2000. 
  8. ^ De 'vergeten' 007. Andere Tijden, VPRO, Nederland 2 20:25–21:25.
  9. ^ Information on Her Majesty's Secret Service at MI6.co.uk/
  10. ^ Interview in Bondage, magazine of the James Bond 007 Fan Club
  11. ^ Retrovision magazine interview with Peter R. Hunt
  12. ^ Lipp 159
  13. ^ Lipp 161
  14. ^ Mick LaSalle (1997-06-20). "Batman Chills Out". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  15. ^ Pam Shriver files for divorce from former Bond George Lazenby - The Australian

External links


Simple English

George Lazenby (born September 5, 1939) is an Australian-born model and actor. He is most famous for his role as James Bond in the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1968). He is the only actor to play the role of Bond only once in an official James Bond movie.








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