NAME: James Bond – code name 007 (created by Ian Fleming in 1953)
ABOUT: Fleming wrote just 12 James Bond books, and two short story collections, so it seems rather amazing that the James Bond franchise has been popular for so very long! In celebration of the release of the much anticipated Skyfall, the latest instalment in the James Bond story, what better than to celebrate the actors who have helped to ensure that James Bond has been and continues to be the huge British success it it!
Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930)
- Dr. No 1962
- From Russia with Love 1963
- Goldfinger 1964
- Thunderball 1965
- You Only Live Twice 1967
- Diamonds are Forever 1971
The first James Bond and for many still the iconic and the best, Sir Thomas Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother was a cleaning lady and his father a factory worker. Before becoming an actor, he started out his working career as a somewhat less glamorous milkman! This was the start of a long list of jobs before he found his way to the world of entertainment, he was in the Royal Navy, worked as a lorry driver, a lifeguard, a build labourer, a life model for art classes and perhaps most bizarrely as a coffin polisher!
It was in 1951, looking to earn a some extra money, he took a job helping out backstage at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh, fell in love with treading the boards and the actor Sean Connery was born!
James Bond was Connery's breakthrough role, thrusting him straight into stardom! Surprisingly Ian Fleming was not at all convinced Connery was right for the role, it was his girlfriend who persuaded him that the actor really did have the requisite sex appeal and charisma, and she was right! Fleming was so impressed with Connery after the first film Dr. No, he went onto to create a half Swiss/Scottish background for Bond in his later novels.
Connery starred in six James Bond films, ensuring his place in acting history!
George Lazenby (born 5 September 1939)
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
The only non-Brit to play the Spy, Lazenby is the rather forgotten James Bond, starring in 1969 in just one film. Born in New South Wales, Australia, his mother worked in a Department Store and his father was a Railway Worker. Like Connery before him, Lazenby had a series of jobs before his found acting, working as a car mechanic and salesman, and serving in the Australian Army. In 1963 he moved to London, and was working as a car salesman when he was spotted by a talent scout who persuaded him to become a model.
It was while having his hair cut that he met James Bond Producer, Albert R Broccoli. Broccoli was immediately taken with Lazenby's looks and after seeing him in a commercial for Fry's chocolate, offered him a screen test.
Lazenby's 007 career was short and for him not very enjoyable. In certain scenes his voice was dubbed by fellow actor George Baker (Inspector Wexford!). He announced before the release of the film that he would no longer be playing the spy, saying he was made to feel “mindless”.
Perhaps filling Sean Connery's shoes would have been a tall order for anyone!
Roger Moore (born 14 October 1927)
- Live and Let Die 1973
- The Man with the Golden Gun 1974
- The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
- Moonraker 1979
- For Your Eyes Only 1981
- Octopussy 1983
- A View to a Kill 1985
The actor who really did fill Sean Connery's shoes, playing Bond in seven films, Sir Roger George Moore, KBE, is an English actor born in London. His father was a policeman, and his mother a housewife. Like the two before him he served in the Army, at 18 being conscripted for National Service, raising to the rank of Captain, he served in the Royal Army Service Corps. His Army career however was the precursor to his acting one, as he transferred whilst serving to the entertainment branch (although prior to his National Service, he had spent some time at RADA). Upon leaving the Army, he was set for a career in acting.
Moore was already a very successful television actor before the role of James Bond came knocking, having starred as first The Saint, and then in the Persuaders, by the time he was cast as Bond, he was already well known in Britain, and has been the oldest actor to play the Spy, being 45 when he started and 58 when he made his final appearance in A View to a Kill. He is the longest serving and most prolific Bond. There has always traditionally been a divide of those who prefer Connery and those in the Moore camp, Moore playing the role as the far more suave and sophisticated Bond, we came to expect.
Timothy Dalton (born 21 March 1946)
- The Living Daylights 1987
- Licence to Kill 1989
British actor Dalton was born in Denbigshire, North Wales. His English father was an advertising executive, his mother was American, Although born in Wales, when he was three the family moved to England, and Dalton was brought up in Belper, Derbyshire. It was after seeing a local production of Macbeth when he was 16 that he decided to become an actor, and when he left school in 1964 he enrolled with RADA, however he did not finish his studies leaving in 1966 to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Dalton played 007 in just two films, he was however apparently considered prior to this for the role, he himself had declared himself too young and hadn’t pursued the roles, later saying he hadn’t wanted at the young age of 25 to take over from Connery who was he said “…..far too good, he was wonderful”
Dalton was contracted to make three films, but some legal wrangling and problems with EON Productions and MGM halted production for over four years and by the time it was due to start filming his third film, Dalton had decided his time as Bond was over.
Pierce Brosnan (born 16 May 1953)
- GoldenEye 1995
- Tomorrow Never Dies 1997
- The World is Not Enough 1999
- Die Another Day 2002
Irish Actor Brosnan was born in County Louth, Ireland. The only child of Thomas and May Brosnan, his father left the family when Pierce was just four years old whereupon his mother moved to London to work as a nurse; and he was then largely brought up by his grandparents, upon their deaths he lived with an Aunt, and then an Uncle. He saw his mother just twice a year when she returned home to visit. However, when his mother remarried he moved to Scotland to live with her and her new husband.
Brosnan left school at 16 wanting to be a painter, he started studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. In 1969 he saw a fire eater and was inspired to learn the skill! He was spotted busking by a circus agent who promptly signed him up for three years. He finally settled upon acting and studied at the Drama Centre London.
Brosnan's first wife (Cassandra Harris, who died in 1991), starred in For Your Eyes Only and it was whilst visiting her on set, he met Albert R. Broccoli, who was immediately struck by the actor, but it wasn’t until 1995, when everything slid into place, and Brosnan was signed up for three James Bond films, he made four very successful Bond films, and although he had always said he would like to make another, Die Another Day proved to be his last.
Brosnan brought back some of the suave to the role, a lot of sophistication with some charm and wit all his own!
Daniel Craig (born 2 March 1968)
- Casino Royale 2006
- Quantum of Solace 2008
- Skyfall 2012
British Actor Daniel Craig, is the current James Bond, having taken the role over in 2006. Craig was brought up in the Wirral in North West England. His father Timothy Craig a Pub landlord, whilst his mother Carol Craig an art teacher.
Craig always wanted to act, starring in School productions from the tender age of 6, at age 16 he moved to London to join the National Youth Theatre.
It was in 2005 that Craig was contacted to play the role of Bond, he was sceptical, as it seemed were many critics and industry insiders. However Casino Royale was a hugely successful being the highest grossing Bond film ever made. Craig has continued to make other films, most notably and successfully in the English version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The much anticipated Skyfall, Craig's latest incarnation as James Bond is due for release this month. Craig has proven to be a brilliant Bond, adding a new dimension to the character, ensuring the James Bond franchise continues to be bang up to date.
Craig was born in 1986, after Ian Fleming's death; would Fleming approve of Craig? How could he possibly not!
WHAT MAKES JAMES BOND RAZBERRY CANDY?: He is shaken not stirred!