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My name's Bond, James Bond.



"I hope I can live up to your high standards."

George Lazenby

as

Ian Fleming's

James Bond

 

Bond Dossier:

Born On:

September 5th, 1939

From:

Queanbeyan City, New South Wales, Australia

Eye Color:

Brown

Height:

6'2" (without shoes on)

Weight:

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) 186 pounds

Played Bond In:

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Box Office Gross: 1 Film:

$82 million ($381.3 million 2005 inflated)

Box Office Gross Per Film:

$82 million ($381.3 million 2005 inflated)

Bond Salary:

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) J50,000 British pounds

*Turned down an offer of $1,000,000 from Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman and United Artists to star in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Lazenby and his manager demanded a salary of $2,000,000 instead. Rather than pay Lazenby twice what they had offered him, Bond production company Eon signed Sean Connery instead for the base salary of $1.25 million. When Lazenby and his manager demanded twice the amount offered by Eon, Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli refused to pay the sum and called it "outrageous".

*Turned down a 14 year, 7 Bond film/5 non-Bond film (12 film overall) contract with United Artists. The contract would have paid him $28 million for the 7 Bond films, and $5 million for the 5 non-Bond films. Lazenby's manager however demanded $35 million for the 7 Bond films, and Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli refused to pay that much.

(sources: The History of United Artists/David V. Picker/Harry Saltzman) 

 

Lazenby Bond Trivia

 

Lazenby was offered a 7 Bond film contract from James Bond production company Eon before, during, and after filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Despite the popular belief that he quit the role or that he was fired, he actually simply was in a lengthy contract disupute, of which his saying he had quit the role was part of his negotiating ploy. There was a lengthy dispute over Lazenby's Bond contract because it was 14 inches thick and covered everything from how Lazenby should behave in public, how he should dress, what car he should drive, how he should wear his hair, that he always be cleanly shaven, how he handle his personal life, where he should dine out, who he should be seen in public with, among numerous other things over the 14 year length of the contract. Lazenby felt he needed to be paid extra money in order to keep in line with such a Draconian contract for so many years. In the end, Lazenby turned down a very large amount of money and demanded twice what he was offered, and Bond production company Eon and United Artists then removed him from their plans in the Bond franchise.

 

Lazenby was offered a then huge actor's salary of $1 million to play 007 in Diamonds Are Forever by Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman and United Artists, but he demanded twice that amount and thus was never signed for the role.

 

 




Ever Wondered Why George Lazenby Only Made One James Bond Movie?

 

 

The question of how come George Lazenby only played 007 in one Bond film has long been one of those great movie trivia questions. There are many conflicting reports and stories on why George Lazenby was only in one 007 movie, and there seems to be a real dearth of the actual facts or story being printed in the press or known to most of the public as to why he only donned the famous Bond tuxedo and played the world's most famous film character just once.

 

The following is the true and complete account of why George Lazenby only made one James Bond film, a subject that has baffled many people for years, who have often wondered how a previously unknown model/actor from a small town in the outback of Australia could have been in his right mind to leave what was at the time the world's most coveted celebrity status position, and thus end up being known as the proverbial and quintessential one-hit wonder. The following article about Lazenby's Bond contract negotiations is based on the historical accounts by United Artists film studio and Eon Productions Company that detailed these particular events in question. (Lazenbyland note: We have had NO independent confirmation that any of this is true, but thought the article was at least worth reproducing here.)

 

 

 



Why George Lazenby Didn't Have All The Time In The World

 


It has often been reported that George Lazenby signed only a one film movie contract to make On Her Majesty's Secret Service, choosing to decline the 7 film contract that he was offered by Eon and United Artists. However this is in fact incorrect. In October of 1968, Lazenby turned down the 14 year/7 film contract that he had been offered and instead chose to sign a 7 year/4 film contract instead.  Lazenby also agreed in this contract to sign a Legal Letter of Intent to play James Bond 007 in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, which was to follow Lazenby's first 007 movie, 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

 

It should be noted that Lazenby felt he wasn't going to make another Bond film during the middle of On Her Majesty's Secret Service's production because he had grown extremely tired of the treatment he was receiving on all accounts. However this does not change the fact that he was still under contract, and that the Bond producers always thought he was going to make the next Bond film. The producers simply believed this was a ploy by Lazenby's managers to get him a better deal, which it in fact was. The fact that Lazenby already felt he was done at that point changes none of the below.

 

Also some of Lazenby's comments in interviews have been largely taken out of context to make it seem like he implied that he only was signed and obligated for one Bond film. That is absolutely wrong. Lazenby was only paid for one Bond film, with an additional first payment for his next Bond film. Meaning then, that because he had only been paid for one, that was the only one he had to make legally, providing he was not released from his contract. This has then been taken out of context and skewed by numerous media reports and "non-biased" interviewers as to mean he was only signed to a one picture deal, which is totally incorrect.

 

The 7 year/4 film contract that Lazenby signed was at industry minimum standard pay for a lead actor in films as big as the Bond films, with the built in industry pay increases for each successive film. This did not sit well with the Bond producers who wanted the young 28 year old Lazenby locked in to his contract for 7 films at the minimum pay rate they wanted him to get. Lazenby's managers however advised him that it would be better to sign a smaller contract at first, then re-negotiate his longer 7 film deal later on, so that he could demand more money for future films after he had already made some Bond films.

 

It has been widely reported that when Lazenby announced he was quitting the role of Bond during the filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service that he indeed was only obligated contractually to make that film. But that is not accurate. Lazenby was in fact signed and obligated to make 4 Bond films over a 7 year period. During filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Bond producers constantly offered him the 7 film deal. Meaning he would then sign for 3 extra films in addition to the 4 that he had already signed on for. This offer to Lazenby was eventually extended to 7 Bond films after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, or 8 Bond films in total, and then finally to 7 Bond films after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in addition to 5 non-Bond films made by United Artists. Lazenby wanted to sign the contract that included the 5 non-Bond films, but his personal manager told him not to.

 

It was announced to the press once again that Lazenby was leaving the role of Bond at the premiere of Secret Service. It was Lazenby's publicist that actually made the announcement. Lazenby also said he was leaving the 007 role while on an airing of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. By this point Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli were furious with Lazenby and did not know what to do with him. Contrary to popular belief, Lazenby was not free from his contract at this time. He was still obligated to make 3 more Bond movies. Also contrary to popular belief, Lazenby was not fired at this time. Instead the Bond producers decided to let Lazenby out of his Bond contract the day after the premiere of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

 

The big dispute between Lazenby and Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli was over the rules in Lazenby's contract. He actually could be fired for something as simple as not shaving every day while not even filming a Bond movie. There was even a clause in his contract that stated that he had to get his dinner guests approved by Cubby Broccoli before he could be seen dining out with them in public. There were numerous clauses of this nature in his contract and none of them sat well with Lazenby.

 

The Bond producers finally realized that they had to let Lazenby out of his contract because he was not going to behave as they wanted him to unless they did so. For example, Lazenby's wearing a beard and long hair in public, hanging out at nightclubs and bars, and saying he was quitting the role numerous times. This sort of thing was done by Lazenby so that he could get the 7 film deal he wanted, but minus all the Draconian rules it had contained within it. In order to do that he first had to get out of the original contract that he had signed.

 

Although Cubby Broccoli didn't want to take these clauses out of Lazenby's deal he realized he had no choice, so Saltzman and Broccoli released Lazenby from his deal. They then began negotiating with him on his new contract. The many reports that he was by this time officially no longer Bond are wrong. At this time Harry Saltzman and Lazenby negotiated with each other directly, minus Broccoli and Lazenby's managers. Saltzman had been given full power by United Artists and Broccoli to get Lazenby whatever deal he wanted as long as it stayed within the salary range they wanted to pay him. Lazenby would then take the offers to his manager for approval.

 

Saltzman then offered Lazenby a contract for 7 more Bond films and 5 non-Bond films minus all the Draconian clauses in the deal. However, the offer was still to start at the minimum industry standard pay with the same built in industry standard increases for each successive film. Lazenby and his now rather infamous top personal manager/publicist Ronan O'Rahilly, a well known British producer who created Radio Caroline, worked for The BBC and who also managed The Beatles for just one week's time (although some people say it was actually for just one day's time), turned that offer down. They countered it by asking for twice the pay rate offered, as well as Lazenby getting twice as big a dressing room, twice as big a limo, twice as big a trailer, twice as big a personal expense account with Eon, and also with a clause in the contract that stated that Lazenby would keep all the Saville Row suits, Rolex watches, and Bond cars used in his films.

 

Although Saltzman, and in particular United Artists, were willing to meet these demands, Cubby Broccoli was not. Broccoli insisted that since Sean Connery did not even get much of that treatment, it did not make sense to give it to Lazenby, even though he would essentially become the world's biggest movie star if he signed the deal. Broccoli remarked how Richard Burton had made similar demands from Eon and UA while he and Lazenby were the final two candidates for the Bond role, and that they wouldn't give Burton what he wanted. In Broccoli's mind he felt that George Lazenby was better for Bond than Burton, but he also felt that if Eon and UA weren't willing to give Burton the sort of perks that he had wanted, it would be foolish to give them to Lazenby. Broccoli therefore would not agree to Lazenby's demands.

 

Studio heads from United Artists then met with Saltzman and Broccoli in New York and instructed them to offer Lazenby a longer term deal, termed "a lifetime contract", in the hopes that this would entice him to take the money being offered, as it would ensure that Lazenby would be at the top of the movie business for many years. The thinking behind this was that Lazenby would take less money and perks than he was asking for if he had a guaranteed, extremely lucrative, and heralded gig for the rest of his career, and that this would then firmly establish in the public and press that Lazenby was Bond for life and that Connery, or no one else was going to be Bond.

 

Eon offered Lazenby 10 additional Bond movies, which would have given him a total of 11 Bond films in all. The contract was to cover a period of 20 years beginning in 1970 and ending in 1990.  Lazenby's last Bond film was to be shot in 1988, and released in 1989. This film eventually became Licence To Kill starring Timothy Dalton, who in a strange twist of irony was actually offered the role of Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service before auditions for unknowns were held.

 

Cubby Broccoli felt that it was of absolute top priority that they establish in the minds of the press and the public that Bond was Lazenby's gig exclusively and that he be known entirely for Bond. In Broccoli's view, Eon could fully groom Lazenby for the Bond role since he was known simply for it and had not been a professional actor; and that by having everyone know Lazenby had a lifetime contract that would cover two whole decades, it would make the public not only change their mind's that only Connery was clearly Bond, but it would also eventually lead to Lazenby replacing Connery in the public's minds as the definitive Bond.

 

When Lazenby was offered this deal he was anxious to sign it, but he still had to get approval for it from his managers. This was because Lazenby had signed an agreement with his managers that they had to approve of all of his deals. He had signed this agreement just days after he had won the Bond casting. Lazenby felt that his biggest obstacle and hurdle in playing Bond was the public's belief that Bond was Connery's gig, so the lifetime contract was the perfect way for him to overcome that, since everyone would be told that he was signed for the next 20 years. This would stop any sentiment  amongst the movie-going public that Connery could be brought back if people were hard on Lazenby and stayed away from his films at the box office.

 

When Lazenby showed the contract offer to his main manager, he was advised by him that Bond would not last that much longer past the early 1970's because it was no longer a viable character for the times. He advised Lazenby that the tuxedo-clad super-spy had become a cultural dinosaur that was out of touch with the realities of the popular hippie culture of the time. He also advised Lazenby that by signing this contract, he would become completely type cast in the Bond role and then find himself stuck in a star role that was no longer fit for the times, and one that would not enjoy even half the success that it had in the earlier 1960's Sean Connery era. Lazenby did not agree with this advice and wanted to sign the contract, but his managers would not approve of it, and because he had signed the agreement with them that he couldn't sign any deals without their approval, he could not accept the offer.

 

When Lazenby then had to turn this offer down, Harry Saltzman broke off contract talks and went back to United Artists along with Cubby Broccoli to discuss their options. At that point they first considered looking for a new Bond, and also offering a huge contract to Sean Connery. They then decided to sign American actor John Gavin to the Bond role as an insurance policy. Gavin's contract stated that if they could not get Lazenby or Connery signed in time to make the scheduled filming start of Diamonds Are Forever, that Gavin would then make the film. However, if either Connery or Lazenby could be re-signed to make the film, Gavin would then receive a one-time $500,000 severance pay, and no longer be attached to the role. UA and Eon could not simply delay the film because they already had sold some of the film's overseas profits to various investors, and if the film was delayed they could then be sued for that money.

 

UA and the Bond co-producers finally decided to simply offer Lazenby a film contract for Diamonds Are Forever at a salary of $1 million. Saltzman met Lazenby in London, in February of 1970, and offered him $1 million to make Diamonds Are Forever, and told him that after that film was completed that they could then either negotiate further films for Lazenby, or that if Lazenby wanted to then quit he could. Saltzman explained to Lazenby that they did not have time to cast another Bond, that it had cost them over $1 million just to cast him, and that they could not take on neither that task, nor cost again at the time. So Saltzman told Lazenby that, Eon needed enough time to prepare for Bond 007 actor casting again if it had to be done over. He also informed Lazenby that Eon/UA had to make the scheduled production start of Diamonds Are Forever, because if they did not, John Gavin would get the role, and they didn't want that to happen.

 

Lazenby was also willing to sign this deal. However when he brought it to his main personal manager he was told that the salary was not high enough. Although Lazenby just wanted to take the deal, he still had to get the approval from his managers. Lazenby was told to tell Saltzman that he would make just one more 007 film for a salary of $2 million, and that he would then not make any more Bond films after that. When Lazenby told this to Saltzman, he was informed that the producer had only been authorized to offer up to $1 million by his partners, and that he would have to discuss the $2 million demand with them.

 

Saltzman flew back to New York to meet with Broccoli and studio heads from United Artists to discuss his last meeting with Lazenby. When Saltzman informed them of Lazenby's final demand, Cubby Broccoli became outraged. Saltzman and UA were actually willing to pay the $2 million salary but Broccoli refused. He was particularly angry at Lazenby not only demanding such an astronomically huge salary at that time, but also the news that even if Lazenby got such a pay he would still not make another Bond film. The $1 million film salary that they were offering to Lazenby to star in Diamonds would have made him the highest paid male lead for base salary in movie history. Broccoli therefore felt that Lazenby's $2 million asking price was simply an out of line demand, especially considering Lazenby would not commit to more than one more film.

 

It was then that United Artists decided that Lazenby was out of consideration for the Bond role. United Artists executive David V. Picker, then ordered Saltzman and Broccoli to re-sign Sean Connery at any cost. They offered Connery a then huge base salary of $1.25 million, as well as 12.5 percent of the film's net US profits, extra pay for the film going over the set shooting schedule, and also funding for Connery to produce and star in 3 film projects of his own choosing.

 

This was seen as the biggest deal ever for an actor for a single film to that point. In the end, Connery ended up earning a reported $6 million total for Diamonds Are Forever (three times the amount Lazenby had asked for), and he donated his entire $1.25 million base salary that he earned from the film to the Scotish International Educational Trust, which Connery co-founded. Only one of Connery's 3 non-Bond films allocated in the deal was actually produced, and Connery claimed that Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli never paid him the $4.75 million of the film's profits that he was owed, although there was never any legal verification or ruling that was true. Connery signed the deal just days after Lazenby's handlers had made their final salary demands. Gavin was paid his $500,000 contract buyout by United Artists.

Lazenby, for having signed a Legal Letter of Intent to star as 007 in Diamonds, had been given an early initial payment of his salary for that film prior to the time that Connery had been officially signed to return the Bond role. Under the agreement in Lazenby's Legal Letter of Intent, if he did not star as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, he would have to reimburse Eon for the initial payment he had received for the film. Lazenby reimbursed Eon for this money after Connery signed.

 

 

Trivia and the story behind Lazenby's contract negotiations were obtained from United Artists/Harry Saltzman interview archives/George Lazenby interview archives/Cubby Broccoli interview archives/and David V. Picker interview archives.


 

Lazenbyland obtained this information from the Moonraker Bond site. Unfortunately their link on Freewebs is notoriously unreliable hence we have recreated their text here. We have no way of verifying if any of the above is an accurate version and no independent corroboration.

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