George Robert Lazenby (born 5 September 1939 in Goulburn, Australia) is an Australian actor, former car salesman and model.
He is best known for being the first and brief successor of Sean Connery as James Bond in a single film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. He and Pierce Brosnan share the distinction of being the only non-British Bonds (although with Brosnan being Irish, Lazenby is still the only Bond not to come from the British Isles, which also makes him the only non-European Bond) as well as the only professional martial artist in the role (he has a Black Belt in Shotokan-Ryu Karate). His contract was for an unprecedented seven movies, but he left because of the troubled filming note , the contract they wanted him to sign (which dictated how he was supposed to look and act even off camera for the entire duration of the deal) and because his agent thought spy movies were getting outdated, believing hippy movies were the way to go. After a couple of hippie movie flops, Lazenby finally decided he'd had enough and fired him.
He was a close personal friend of Bruce Lee, having met him in 1972. Lazenby studied Lee's personal martial arts and philosophical teaching of "Jeet Kune Do" until the time of Lee's death in 1973. He was going to have dinner with Bruce the night he died, actually.
In his post-Bond career, Lazenby has played in TV movies, commercials, various recurring roles in TV series, several Bond movie spoofs and several Hong Kong action films, using his martial arts expertise. He also made TV guest appearances and James Bond-related documentary appearances, and provided voice for several animated movies and series. He's also had several successful non-acting business ventures such as car sales.
Works he has appeared in include:
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) as James Bond
- Universal Soldier (1971) as Ryker
- The Man from Hong Kong (1975) as the Big Bad, Jack Wilton
- The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) as The Architect (segment "That's Armageddon")
- Saint Jack (1979) as Senator
- Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983) as "J.B."note
- The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1989, 1 episode) as James (a spoof of James Bond)
- The Adventures of Superboy (1990, 2 episodes) as Jor-Elnote
- Gettysburg (1993) as Brigadier general J. Johnston Pettigrew
- Twin Sitters (1994) as Leland Stromm
- Fox Hunt (1996) as Chauncey
- The Emmanuelle made-for-TV movie series (1992-1998) as Mario
- Baywatch (1999, 1 episode) as Commander McCabe
- The Pretender as Major Charles (1999-2000, 4 episodes)
- Batman Beyond (1999-2000, voice) as the King of the Royal Flush Gang
- Legit (2014) as Jack Jefferies
- A Winter Rose (2014) as Henry
- Hunter (2015) as General Bullmount
- Becoming Bond (2017 documentary) as himself
- In the Blink of an Eye (2020)note
Tropes and Trivia in his works:
- Action Hero: He was arguably the most physically capable of the Bonds, owing to his own military experience and martial arts expertise; he was a combat instructor in the Australian army, holds black belts in Judo and Shotokan Karate, and trained with Bruce Lee.
- Adam Westing: He'll gladly accept to spoof his most famous role here and there, be it in unrelated productions or fan films.
- Awesome Aussie: As Bond and much of his work due to his military training and martial arts skill.
- Becoming the Boast: He had zero acting experience when he applied to be James Bond and proceeded to lie through his teeth about being an experienced actor through the whole audition process. When he finally cracked and confessed to Peter Hunt that he wasnt an actor, Hunt laughed and said that if he managed to fool everyone so far, he was an actor.
- Old Shame: He has stated that he regrets taking the advice of his agent not to reprise the role of Bond; tellingly, the two men parted ways in the years after the fact.
- What Could Have Been:
- The big one is that, as stated above, he walked away from the role of James Bond after just one film. The original plan for On Her Majesty's Secret Service had been for Tracy's death to occur in the follow-up, but since Lazenby was leaving, the producers decided to keep it in just one movie; Bond seeking revenge for the murder of his wife (or even acknowledging that she'd existed, for that matter) was not explicitly addressed within the franchise until For Your Eyes Only.
- He was offered the role of Bond once again by Albert R. Broccoli in Live and Let Die after the final departure of Sean Connery from the series, but this time director Guy Hamilton objected, and Roger Moore was cast instead.
- The rival Bond producer to Broccoli, Kevin McClory, wanted him as first choice to play Bond in Never Say Never Again, but the part ended up going to Sean Connery for star power reasons.
- He was offered the part of Gig Young in Game of Death, but Bruce Lee's death made him decline it.
- John Cleese once said he wanted to cast Lazenby as Jesus in Monty Python's Life of Brian.