Poor George Lazenby achieved a negative fame for most of his career as The Man Who Would Be James Bond. The son of an Australian railway worker, Lazenby's first paying job was as an auto mechanic. He worked his way up to car salesman before exploiting his good looks as a male model in England. When Sean Connery briefly left the James Bond film series in 1967, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli decided to invent a "new" Connery, and Lazenby was selected to portray 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Although his performance was by no means as bad as some critics have claimed -- in fact, time has been kind to his no-nonsense interpretation of the character -- Lazenby invited reams of bad press when he spoke ill of his highly respected leading lady Diana Rigg. While Secret Service earned nine million dollars (less than its predecessors, but still a success), Lazenby's future career as James Bond was scuttled when Sean Connery agreed to return to the fold in Diamonds are Forever in 1970. Lazenby has continued to appear in films ever since, albeit often in a campy manner alluding to his failure to capitalize on his brief Bond fame. From 1984 to 1985, Lazenby was a regular on the American syndicated TV soap opera Rituals.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Served in the Australian army before moving to London (in 1964), where he sold luxury cars and was a sought-after model.
- Was a "Marlboro Man" in European cigarette commercials.
- His turn as James Bond, in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, was only his second film role. (His first was a brief appearance in the 1965 Italian spy caper Espionage in Tangiers, in which the hero was Secret Agent 077.)
- Post-James Bond, worked in Hong Kong, where he was signed to make a film with his friend and karate mentor Bruce Lee, but Lee died before filming was to begin.
- TV credits include Baywatch, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, The Adventures of Superboy and several Emmanuelle films.
- Has raced off-road dirt bikes and stock cars, and competed in skiing events; has a black belt in karate.