George Lazenby had an almost inglorious chance. When Sean Connery “gave up” the role that made him a world star – James Bond – it was up to the Australian model to replace him. Rejection was expected, but conjugation was even worse. The James Bond from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service didn’t just have a new face, but was somehow fragile, goes into crisis at work, meets a strong woman, falls in love, and gets married. SPOILER ALERT, tragically widowed. It was almost a Herculean challenge.
George was a master of martial arts and, because of his beauty, a model. Legend has it that he had the same barber as producer Albert Broccoli. With no experience as an actor, he was chosen to debut as James Bond, remembering that Sean himself was also unknown before playing the English spy. George was 29 years old, which made him too young for the role.
I’m romantic. I’m a geek. I’m a fan of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and it’s one of my favorites despite George Lazenby. I love his vulnerability, his love, everything. Diana Rigg as Tracy is perfect. I cry, I cheer, and I think the movie is tragically perfect.
The world wasn’t ready for a widowed, crying James, with the credits rolling up in silence. And George, harassed and full of himself, adopted the hippie style at the launch party. The producers were in shock.
George says he refused to return to play James Bond. It was as if he had thrown away the winning lottery ticket. Much has been made of the conflicted relationship with Diana Rigg, who had biting humor and who admitted to having been the counterpoint to George’s artistic inexperience, but who did not hate him. Anyway, with the bad reception, a legend was born.
Sean Connery returned for one more film before Roger Moore inherited the role. Never mind that Timothy Dalton tried to make the changes long before his time. Dalton’s Bond looks like Daniel Craig’s but was rejected for the qualities that pleased Craig.
Lazenby’s career never recovered from failure. It even became the franchise’s negative reference. Dalton was unsuccessful, but he was not convicted like Lazenby. Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig were successful.
The film, at its core, is good. The score, the story, and the conclusion, not especially or despite Lazenby. He has a good mood to deal with the “bad reputation”. Now that the search has resumed, his experience is once again remembered. The new James Bond may or may not be young, but he cannot, under any circumstances, be George Lazenby.