Today, Monday, September 19, 2022, marks the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Through her 70-year reign, she has been mentioned and referenced in countless films, but she rarely played such an important part as she did in the James Bond franchise.
007 has always served Queen and country while working for the Secret Service and MI6. But one of the most important films in the Bond franchise has now changed forever following Her Majesty’s death.
James Bond was first brought to the big screen by Sean Connery in 1962 in Dr No. This was the first outing for the Scottish star, who went on to play the hero six times.
Connery portrayed the hero five times back-to-back from 1962 to 1967, ending with You Only Live Twice. After that, he wanted to leave the series and move on to something different.
So, the Bond bosses were forced to start looking for a new actor to play 007. Thankfully, Australian model George Lazenby (literally) walked into their offices and demanded an audition. Before long, he had been announced as the second-ever James Bond.
He starred in the film that has become an important turning point for the series: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
From now on, James Bond will no longer serve under Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Instead, he’ll be a member of His Majesty’s Secret Service for King Charles III, something that has never been true before in any of the movies or in any of Sir Ian Fleming’s original novels.
Even up until the latest film in the Bond series, No Time To Die, Daniel Craig was sworn to protect and serve Great Britain while representing Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Serendipitously, Craig has now stepped down from the role of 007, and the hunt for a new James Bond has begun behind the scenes at EON and Amazon.
It would not be surprising if, in the next Bond movie with a new actor, the secret agent is shown swearing an oath to the new head of state, The King of England.
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As a newcomer to the film industry, Lazenby was very brash in his actions on the movie set.
He was being paid £1,000 dollars a day in cash and had no choice but to carry it around with him. Lazenby told the Daily Express in 2010: “I’d been given thousands of dollars of spending money and it was all piling up in my suitcase.”
He was also gifted plane tickets, motorbikes and an Aston Martin car.
But disaster eventually struck when Lazenby’s on-screen nemesis, Telly Savalas (who played Bond’s foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld), noticed the amount of money he was walking around with.
Lazenby recalled: “Telly saw [the suitcase of money] one day and asked: ‘Wanna play poker?’ Well, I’d never played poker and started losing.”
Eventually, the Bond star lost almost everything. So much so that one of the Bond bosses was forced to step in.
The Aussie star said: “[Bond boss Harry] Saltzman put a stop to it and told Telly: ‘Leave my boy alone.'”