The GEORGE LAZENBY Appreciation thread - Discuss His Life, His Career, His Bond Films

13468928

Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I remember reading that Lewis Collins, thought he'd screwed up
    His audition for Bond by appearing too aggressive, perhaps his
    Show of Bravado, brought back memories of Lazenby to the
    Producers ?
  • Posts: 1,146
    I think that's the difference. Connery had Terence Young, while Laz had no one to help mold him.
  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    Posts: 16,339
    I think that's the difference. Connery had Terence Young, while Laz had no one to help mold him.

    He did have Diana Rigg to help him along the way though.
  • Posts: 11,425
    Murdock wrote: »
    I think that's the difference. Connery had Terence Young, while Laz had no one to help mold him.

    He did have Diana Rigg to help him along the way though.

    Indeed. I don't think he realised how lucky he was.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    DrGorner wrote: »
    I remember reading that Lewis Collins, thought he'd screwed up
    His audition for Bond by appearing too aggressive, perhaps his
    Show of Bravado, brought back memories of Lazenby to the
    Producers ?

    I like Collins and love the Professionals, but I'm personally glad he never got Bond. I just couldn't see him in the role.
  • Posts: 11,425
    I guess EON were toying with going down more a violent, enforcer type route - that was all the fashion in the 70s. Some might argue it's sort of the model they've adopted with Craig.
  • edited January 2015 Posts: 1,146
    Getafix wrote: »
    I guess EON were toying with going down more a violent, enforcer type route - that was all the fashion in the 70s. Some might argue it's sort of the model they've adopted with Craig.

    Yep :)

    I'd lave LOVED to have seen LAz in both LALD and TMWTGG as such. That would have been awesome. The tone would have been completely different, though Laz was much funnier than he was given credit for, and a complete physical force.
  • edited January 2015 Posts: 1,659
    IMO , the 70s scripts would've been the same even with GL......they would just tell him to shut up/stop meddling afa scripts were concerned and be glad he got the gig in the first place.

    Somehow I don't think he'd get much influence to decide scripts......
  • Posts: 1,146
    I don't agree. Laz could fight and Rog could only quip and raise an eyebrow.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,941
    A modern take on Dracula, set in the fashion world? That's a different, I suppose.
  • Posts: 5,767
    You can still make a movie for $2M?!? I´m absolutely amazed!
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    I will see it, if it gets its way here.
  • ThomasCrown76ThomasCrown76 Augusta, ks
    Posts: 757
    Lazenby could have had rigg help him, even could have boinked her, but he found a way to screw that up, too
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,572
    Lazenby could have had rigg help him, even could have boinked her, but he found a way to screw that up, too
    Attempting to revive all of these threads....;-)

    I read somewhere (and I'm not making it up), that they actually did have a fling and Rigg joined him on a holiday after shooting of OHMSS ended.

    Anyone else hear or read this?

  • StanKobraStanKobra Serbia
    Posts: 108
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    :-O News to me, I've never heard that before.
  • StanKobraStanKobra Serbia
    Posts: 108
    Just to clarify, nothing happened between them, not according to George in that q&a. Let's just say that he blew his shot in hilarious manner :-)
  • edited August 2015 Posts: 11,189
    I was just thinking it would be fun if Laz appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

    Can't stand the show, but Laz would probably persuade me to tune in at least once. He'd be a great fit and probably the only Bond actor who you could see agreeing to it.

    They may have already asked him for all I know.
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,572
    Did we miss George's 76th birthday?
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    He got some congratulations in the birthday thread. :)
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,572
    Ah good, cheers Doc ;)
  • Did anyone actually notice Dame Diana Rigg's come-back on television? As the enigmatic, funny Queen Olenna Tyrell in "Game Of Thrones". Here is a video....and some wonderful pictures. I thinkkk, Dame Diana Rigg deserves an Emmy and Golden Globe for that portrayal :-):

    5396f3bc40246p1948085983.jpg
    maxresdefault.jpg
    4891823.jpg
    dianna-rigg-got-1364317024.jpg
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    edited September 2015 Posts: 11,139
    This is old news.

    On another note, one of the best fight scenes in the entire series and one Mendes SHOULD actually pay homage to.

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,572
    doubleoego wrote: »
    This is old news.

    On another note, one of the best fight scenes in the entire series and one Mendes SHOULD actually pay homage to.


    Certainly the most underrated fight in the series.
  • Posts: 1,386
    Samuel001 wrote: »
    Time to pull this out again?

    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 there 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 unkown 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.

    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 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 unkowns 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 merchandising 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.

    @Samuel001 Interesting stuff. That's the first time I've heard a lot of that. Seeing as how you seem to be very knowledgeable on the topic, do you mind if I ask you if there are any books with information on this that you could recommend?
  • Posts: 4,602
    Was the failing GL's or the production team for not giving him the right guidance, support, friendship and advice? He was well and truly thrown in at the deep end and IMHO, all things considered, he did an amazing job for the one movie. But it was too much to expect him to take it all in and mature into someone like RM who has been a solid and fine representative of the franchise. Hunt clearly had a very clear vision of what he wanted re the end result re OHMSS but perhaps he and the rest of the team did not consider the long term future of the brand and, within that, trying to ensure that the whole experience did not go to GL's head. It clearly did but, who amongst us, under the same situation, would have acted differently?
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    edited February 2016 Posts: 15,696
    Just imagine if the Lazenby situation had happened in recent years, with twitter, 24 hours a day news TV stations and whatnot. The franchise probably would have imploded on itself.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,352
    josiah wrote: »
    Samuel001 wrote: »
    Time to pull this out again?

    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 there 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 unkown 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.

    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 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 unkowns 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 merchandising 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.

    @Samuel001 Interesting stuff. That's the first time I've heard a lot of that. Seeing as how you seem to be very knowledgeable on the topic, do you mind if I ask you if there are any books with information on this that you could recommend?

    None that cover that info, no. Even Charles Helfenstein's great book on the subject doesn't go into detail as it's more about the film itself.
  • Good bless him, what an absolute fool George was.
Sign In or Register to comment.