Sir Hilary Bray is a fictional genealogist employed by the London College of Arms. Based on the literary character from the 1963 Ian Fleming novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service, he appeared in the 1969 film of the same name, portrayed by British actor and writer, George Baker.
In the film adaptation of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Sir Hilary Bray is a genealogist, effectively replacing the character of Sable Basilisk in Ian Fleming's 1963 novel. As a nod to the literary character, Bray's official title is "Sable Basilisk Pursuivant" of the College of Arms. He appears briefly during James Bond's attempts to find wanted fugitive Ernst Blofeld, who is attempting to legally obtain the title of "Count Balthazar de Bleuchamp". With a connection established between Blofeld and Bray, 007 works with the college, using an examination of his own family tree as cover. Blofeld's solicitor, Gebrüder Gumbold, eventually conveys his client's willingness to meet the genealogist face-to-face. Initially reluctant to countenance deception, Sir Hilary agrees to lend his identity to 007 due to the matter's national importance. Bond subsequently travels to Switzerland in disguise; aiming to lure the megalomaniac out of the country for extraction. In the interim, the real Bray arranges to lose himself amongst the churches of Brittany.
Behind the scenes
Director Peter Hunt's neighbour George Baker was offered the part of Sir Hilary Bray. Baker had appeared previously as an (uncredited) NASA engineer in 1967's You Only Live Twice and would go on to portray Captain Benson, the James Bond ally in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me. Author Ian Fleming considered Baker to be the ideal candidate to play James Bond in the films but the role went to Sean Connery because Baker had other commitments to a rival studio. In addition to playing Sir Hilary Bray, Baker dubbed George Lazenby's voice for the central segment of the film, where Bond is impersonating the genealogist, as Hunt considered Lazenby's imitation not convincing enough.
- Throughout the movie, it was implied that Sir Hilary Bray was not interested in girls. At least two girls even thought he did not like girls when Bond, posing as Bray, seduced them. Later when Bond is exposed, Blofeld even claims Sir Hilary Bray would not seduce women. This could be the first implied homosexual character in the Bond films before Wint and Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever, the film that succeeds On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- Collin, Robbie (9 October 2011). "George Baker: the man who might have been James Bond". London: The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved on 9 October 2011.
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service audio commentary. On Her Majesty's Secret Service Ultimate Edition, Disc 1: MGM Home Entertainment. Retrieved on 6 November 2008.