George Lazenby was born in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. He served in the Australian Army Special forces, and was a military unarmed combat instructor.
He moved to London in 1964; working as a car salesman and as a model, then as an actor in advertising, by 1968, he was the highest-paid model in the world (it is said that in 1967, he made £40,000 directly from modelling, and £60,000 from commercials and product endorsements—equivalent to more than a million pounds in 2004); he also was the European Marlboro Man.
In the 1970s he worked in Hong Kong with Bruce Lee; a luncheon meeting with Lee and Raymond Chow to discuss a movie project collapsed with Lee's sudden death. Despite having starred in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), the combined gross earnings of which exceeded $100 million worldwide in the 1970s (then the standard establishing an actor as a box office success), Lazenby's career never flourished. He then focused on business and real estate investments and ended up owning mansions in Hawaii, Brentwood, California, Australia, and a 600-acre (2.4 km²) ranch estate in Valyermo, California, a small town about 17 miles southeast of Palmdale, California; he also owns a portside penthouse apartment in Hong Kong, and an estate home in Maryland.
In 2002 he married his second wife, former tennis player Pam Shriver (member of the Kennedy family and fourth cousin of Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger). They have three children, George, born on 12 July 2004, and twins Caitlin Elizabeth and Samuel Robert, born in October 2005. He also has an adult daughter named Melanie from his first marriage to Christina "Chrissie" Gannett Lazenby. Lazenby also had a son with his first wife Gannett, named Zack, who died in 1994 of brain cancer. Lazenby's first wife, Christina Gannett, is heiress to the Gannett News Service publishing empire.
Today, Lazenby enjoys sailing, motorcycle racing, car racing, reading, watching movies and playing golf, and tennis.
George Lazenby's first serious acting role was as James Bond in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Lazenby is the second official actor to portray the British secret agent. It was rumoured that Lazenby had been "difficult to work with" in this project. According to Lazenby, however, the difficulties were caused by director Peter R. Hunt, who apparently refused to talk directly to him—and this in turn was caused by Lazenby (unaware of studio politics or Hunt's sensibilities) passing on a request for Hunt's friends to clear a set before filming. During the film's production, Lazenby's manager, Ronan O'Rahilly, talked him into refusing a seven-movie contract on the grounds that the Bond character was out of touch with the times. Unsurprisingly, Lazenby describes this as the biggest mistake of his life.
Reception of Lazenby's performance often varies greatly, as some view him to be the quintessential James Bond while some view him as the worst of the actors to play 007. Likewise, feelings about the film usually vary greatly as well. From a commercial perspective On Her Majesty's Secret Service paled in comparison to the previous Bond film You Only Live Twice and the later Diamonds Are Forever (both featuring Connery as Bond); this has been partly attributed to a poor publicity campaign.
Critical response to On Her Majesty's Secret Service remains sharply divided. Many fans, perhaps especially fans of Fleming's original novels, regard it as one of the best Bond films. Other critics name it as one of the lesser Bond films. Nevertheless it is widely considered one of the best and most faithful adaptations of Ian Fleming's original novels.
Lazenby was also approached to play Bond again in both Live and Let Die (1973) and Never Say Never Again (1983). The offer for Live and Let Die was not supported by the director, however. During a Q&A session at the Sydney 2014 Supanova pop culture expo, Lazenby stated that the reason was because he was "too hairy" at the time. Kevin McClory considered Lazenby for his rival Bond film but opted for Connery when he agreed to do the film after initially refusing to return to the role.
Lazenby has portrayed Bond several times over the years in numerous parodies and unofficial 007 roles, most notably the 1983 TV movie The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, titled "Diamonds Aren't Forever".
- Winter Break (Alternate title: Sheer Bliss) (2003)
- Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files (2002) (TV Series) (voice)
- Spider's Web (2001)
- Four Dogs Playing Poker (2000)
- The Pretender (1999–2000) (TV Series) - recurring guest role as the hero Jarod's father Major Charles
- Batman Beyond: The Movie (1999) (TV Movie) (voice)
- Batman Beyond (1999) (TV Series) - recurring role as King (voice)
- Emmanuelle Forever (1993)
- Emmanuelle in Venice (1993)
- Emmanuelle's Love (1993)
- Yu Yu Hakusho: Eizo Hakusho (1993) (voice)
- Gettysburg (1993)
- Emmanuelle's Magic (1992)
- Emmanuelle's Perfume (1992)
- Emmanuelle's Revenge (1992)
- Emmanuelle's Secret (1992)
- Eyes of the Beholder (1992)
- Superboy (1988) (TV Series) - recurring guest role as Jor-El
- Never Too Young to Die (1986)
- The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983) (TV Movie) - as the Bond-like character "JB"
- General Hospital (1982) (TV Series)
- The Nude Bomb (1980) - cameo appearance as James Bond
- Death Dimension (Alternate title: Black Eliminator) (Alternate title: Freeze Bomb) 1978)
- Game of Death (1978) (archive fighting footage)
- Bruce Lee, The Legend (1977)
- The Man From Hong Kong (Alternate title: The Dragon Flies) (1975)
- The Last Days of Bruce Lee (1973)
- Life and Legend of Bruce Lee (1973) (archive footage)
- Universal Soldier (1971)
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Espionage in Tangiers (1966)
|James Bond actor
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