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Know Your James Bond!

Know Your James Bond!
Written by Omair Alavi

On the sixtieth anniversary of the first James Bond film, let’s take a trip down memory lane and visit the six actors to play 007!

The name’s Bond, James Bond, and since his debut film Dr. No in 1962, the iconic secret agent has been played by six actors (mostly British) on screen so far. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the producers have only allowed six actors to don the 007  code-name, and while some had long innings, a couple had short stints as the agent with a license to kill. Let’s go back in time to find out which actors had the privilege to play the iconic British character who is not just tall, broad, and handsome, but suave enough to win over ladies. Read on:

SEAN CONNERY

First Appearance – Dr. No (1962)

Final Appearance – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Total Number of Films: 6 – Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever

Age when his first film as James Bond was released: 32

Age when his final film as James Bond was released: 41

When Sean Connery was selected to play James Bond, the creator of the character Ian Fleming wasn’t impressed. However, after watching the Scot breathe life into creation, the writer added Scottish ancestry to 007’s background. Playing James Bond was the turning point in the career of Sean Connery (later Sir Sean Connery) who was not only the first one to play the character but also the first to quit. Sean Connery grew tired of playing James Bond after five films and decided to try his hand in non-Bond movies, and although that meant that another actor was cast for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Connery was back for one last hurrah in 1971. In all his six films, he took coolness to a whole new level with his performance, and despite five actors trying to emulate him, he is still regarded as the best actor to play 007.

GEORGE LAZENBY

Only Appearance – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Age when his only film as James Bond was released: 30

The Australian George Lazenby was only drafted to play James Bond because of Sean Connery’s refusal to don the 007 tuxedo. Contrary to popular belief, the model-turned-actor did a satisfactory job and the film even did well at the box office, but his own comments about the character led to his downfall. In many interviews after the film’s release, he blamed the producers for not taking him seriously, which wasn’t helped by his lack of acting experience. When Sean Connery agreed to appear in one more James Bond flick, George Lazenby had to go. Roger Moore’s casting after one film meant that the Australian would remain the only person on the list with just one 007 flick to his name.

ROGER MOORE

First Appearance – Live and Let Die (1973)

Final Appearance – A View to a Kill (1985)

Total Number of Films: 7 – Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill

Age when his first film as James Bond was released: 46

Age when his final film as James Bond was released: 58

Not only was he the oldest guy to play James Bond (he was three years older to the first 007, Sean Connery), Sir Roger Moore remains the oldest one to play the character onscreen. He was two years shy of his 60thh birthday when he last appeared in a James Bond film in the mid-1980s, but considering he has the highest number of films as James Bond, it wouldn’t have been an easy decision for the producers at any time. His tongue-in-cheek Bond was the need of the hour in the 1970s and the 1980s and he added a little fun to it, using his experience as TV’s The Saint. He added the suavity that was missing in the character, and despite being 58 when his last Bond film was released, he hardly looked a day past 45!

TIMOTHY DALTON

First Appearance – The Living Daylights (1987)

Final Appearance – License to Kill (1989)

Total Number of Films: 2 The Living Daylights and License to Kill

Age when his first film as James Bond was released: 41

Age when his last film as James Bond was released: 43

Don’t be surprised to know that before he eventually agreed to play James Bond, Timothy Dalton was asked once before in the 1970s, after Sean Connery had quit the role. At that time, Timothy Dalton was in his 20s and would have been too young to play the character, and that’s why when he was again approached in the 1980s, he said yes and gave the audience a Bond that would later be seen in Daniel Craig films. Had it not been for the delays on the producers’ part, Timothy Dalton would have played Bond in more films but his innings ended after just two. If you watch his Bond flicks today, you will know that Daniel Craig took his inspiration from Dalton’s Bond, where the character was less fun, and fiercer.

PIERCE BROSNAN

First Appearance – Goldeneye (1995)

Final Appearance – Die Another Day (2002)

Total Number of Films: 4 – Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day

Age when his first film as James Bond was released: 41

Age when his final film as James Bond was released: 49

Although Pierce Brosnan was the final actor to be cast as James Bond in the original timeline, he could have preceded Timothy Dalton, had the producers of his TV show Remington Steele not become greedy. They renewed the cancelled show after Pierce Brosnan was offered the chance to play 007, and since he was contractually bound with the producers, Timothy Dalton was preferred. When James Bond did make his return after a hiatus of six years, Pierce Brosnan was at the helm, and many considered him a direct descendant of Roger Moore because he could be charming, cheeky, and dangerous at the same time, without losing his cool. His first three Bond films did well at the box office, and if the fourth and final flick – Die Another Day – had done well at the box office, there might not have been a reboot with Daniel Craig.

DANIEL CRAIG

First Appearance – Casino Royale (2006)

Final Appearance – No Time to Die (2021)

Total Number of Films: 5 – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, No Time to Die

Age when his first film as James Bond was released: 38

Age when his final film as James Bond was released: 53

For the generation that grew up between 2006 and 2021, there was only one James Bond, and his name was Daniel Craig. He may have been blond; he may have been too young to play the character but Daniel Craig proved his worth with five James Bond films that set the box office on fire. He even pushed Roger Moore to second place by playing the character longer than anyone else in terms of years. He reminded the audience of Timothy Dalton’s version rather than Sean Connery’s or Roger Moore’s and that’s what made him stand out, despite his character dying at the end of the final film. His James Bond flicks have been intelligent, action-packed, and linked together, which is something that didn’t happen before Daniel Craig, and if the new actor has to make a name for himself, he will have to do better than Daniel Craig, instead of emulating him.

60 years of James Bond charity auction

A James Bond sale in London featuring the fictional superspy’s Aston Martin cars, suits and wristwatch has raised £6.9 million ($7.8 million) for charity — more than all previous 007 sales at the auction house combined.

The two-part sale by Christie’s and EON Productions’ to mark 60 years since the premiere of first film “Dr. No” concluded on October 5 — the official James Bond Day.

The auction spanned all 25 films in the saga, featuring props, posters, memorabilia and experiences as well as the vehicles, watches, and costumes.

The live auction last month released £6.1 million, with a replica of an Aston Martin DB5 used for the stunts in 2021 blockbuster “No Time to Die” selling for nearly £3 million.

The online sale, which finished last week, added another £771,000 to the total, with top earners including a signed script of 2006’s “Casino Royal” (£69, 3000), and a suit worn by outgoing Bond actor James Craig in 2012’s “Skyfall” (£44,100).

A menu that Bond ordered caviar from after winning a card game against supervillain “Largo” at a Bahamas casino in 1965’s “Thunderball” sold for £60,480.

Proceeds from the sale will go to various charities, including BAFTA, British Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres, National Youth Theatre, Refugee Action and The Prince’s Trust.

“We are delighted with the extraordinary success of the Christie’s sale which benefits over 45 charities who do incredibly important work,” says Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers at EON Productions.

Adrian Hume-Sayer, Christie’s director and head of sale, said the result was “testament to the enduring appeal of one of film’s greatest and best loved icons.”

“This is the fourth and by far the largest official James Bond charity auction on which Christie’s has been privileged to collaborate with the EON Productions, we are thrilled that the money raised will benefit so many.”

The money raised surpassed the combined total for all three previous official Christie’s 007 sales, said the London auction house. -Ends

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Omair Alavi

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