Lifestyle & Belief

James Bond actors: 50 years of shaking and stirring


Daniel Craig attends a photocall with cast and filmmakers to mark the start of production on the 23rd Bond film "Skyfall" at Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar on November 3, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. The film was to open November 9, 2012.


Ben Pruchnie

Sean Connery set the bar impossibly high when, on October 5, 1962, he debuted as British super spy James Bond in Dr. No.

It was actually the sixth Bond novel as penned by Ian Fleming and featured a villain with metal claws instead of hands and a beautiful, sheltered beach orphan named Honey Ryder.

Actress Ursula Andress did a number on the Bond girl legend, herself, but that's a topic for another day (and a much longer slideshow).

Come to think of it, Bernard Lee cuts an impressive figure as the film's title character, the moon-rocket destroying Dr. No.

Given the running start these three actors gave the franchise, the fact Daniel Craig will appear in the 23rd Bond movie half-a-century later shouldn't be a surprise.

The only trouble is, it's likely that no actor will ever outperform Connery.

He had the looks, the mannerisms, the charisma ... that accent. 

George Lazenby was next when Connery tried to quit (he was lured back twice more in 25 years).

The brash, beefy Australian model lasted just one film despite getting a seven-movie contract offer.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service has some of Bond's most intriguing moments (he marries Diana Rigg, who is later assassinated), but also some of its worst.

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For much of the film, director Peter R. Hunt had Lazenby using some horrid accent that defies explanation.

Maybe that's why he quit, although Lazenby said then he hated the role and the movie business, and his agent told him Bond was going to fizzle in the liberated 1970s.


After Connery returned for two more films (Diamonds are Forever, You Only Live Twice), Roger Moore inherited Bond and ran with it for 12 years.

Moore was 58 when he retired from the role after 1985's A View to a Kill.

He was old.

In steps Pierce Brosnan ... but legal trouble submarined his debut.

So in steps Timothy Dalton ... but legal trouble submarines him for Pierce Brosnan.

Brosnan caught everyone's eye with the title role in NBC's Remington Steele.

NBC wanted Brosnan to play Bond and Steele, but movie producers at Eon said no, Bond doesn't do TV.

Dalton took over for Licence to Kill and The Living Daylights.

He was set for a third, but became frustrated as producers and studios fought over Bond.

With Steele well behind him, Brosnan took Bond to new heights in GoldenEye.

He appeared in four films, all immensely successful.

Yet, by the time Die Another Day debuted, Bond had started to show his age.

Just think, The Bourne Identity opened the same year.

Yeah, kind of makes sense now, doesn't it?

Cue Daniel Craig, whose turn in Casino Royale elevated Bond from the ashes of campy, over-sexed bedmates, giant ice palaces and villains with diamond pimples.

Craig is ready for his third turn as Bond in 2012's Skyfall.

With Hollywood heavyweights like director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and actors Javier Badem (No Country for Old Men) and Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List) it seems that Bond is ready for another 50 year run.

That, of course, leaves just one question: who's next?

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  • james_bond_50_years_brosnan_halle_berry.jpg

    Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan at the premiere of Die Another Day at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 11, 2002. Die Another Day was Brosnan's fourth and final appearance as Bond, but perhaps most famous for Berry's coral-colored bikini (a tribute to Dr. No's Ursula Andress).


    Kevin Winter

  • james_bond_50_years_connery_2012.jpg

    Actor Sean Connery attends the men's singles quarterfinal match between David Ferrer of Spain and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia at the US Open on September 6, 2012 in New York City. Connery had just turned 82 when this photo was taken, but as you can see hasn't lost his charm.



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    Sean Connery poses during a photocall for his 1982 film Never Say Never Again. It was Connery's seventh appearance as Bond, but outside the Everything or Nothing production studio. Never Say Never Again was adapted from the Ian Fleming novel Thunderball, the same film Connery starred in 21 years earlier. A legal battle between director Kevin McClory and Fleming resulted in McClory retaining filming rights to the novel, and McClory coaxed Connery out of "Bond" retirement for this film. It was released the same year as Roger Moore's Octopussy.



  • james_bond_50_years_daniel_craig.jpg

    In this undated handout photo from Eon Productions, actor Daniel Craig poses as James Bond. Craig was unveiled as legendary British secret agent James Bond 007 in the 21st Bond film Casino Royale, at HMS President, St Katharine's Way on October 14, 2005 in London, England.


    Greg Williams

  • james_bond_50_years_daniel_craig_skyfall.jpg

    Daniel Craig attends a photocall with cast and filmmakers to mark the start of production on the 23rd Bond film "Skyfall" at Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar on November 3, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. The film was to open November 9, 2012.


    Ben Pruchnie

  • james_bond_50_years_lazenby.jpg

    Jemma Kid and former James Bond actor George Lazenby arrive for the world premiere of "Die Another Day" at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of Britain's Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on November 18, 2002 in London. Lazenby only appeared once as Bond in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" after Sean Connery quit. Producers offered Lazenby a seven-film contract, but he rejected it saying he felt stifled by the movie makers and the character's brutality.


    Warren Little

  • james_bond_50_years_moore_pyramid.jpg

    Roger Moore poses in front of Cheops, the largest of Egypt's three Pyramids, on the Giza plateau south of Cairo, July 2, 1999. Moore, 72 at the time and long past Bond, was promoting the country's tourist attractions after a bloody attack on foreign tourists in Luxor in 1997 left the industry in tatters. Moore filmed The Spy Who Loved Me in Egypt 22 years earlier.



  • james_bond_50_years_pierce_brosnan_car.jpg

    Pierce Brosnan poses on an Aston Martin during a photocall at Pinewood Studios on January 11, 2002. Brosnan's Bond career actually began around 1986 when Eon producers cast him to replace Roger Moore for The Living Daylights, but NBC had him under contract for Remington Steele, and negotiations broke down that would've allowed Brosnan to film both roles. Instead, he waited until 1995's Goldeneye to utter the famous phrase, "Bond, James Bond."



  • james_bond_50_years_roger_moore.jpg

    Roger Moore poses with his wife Kristina Tholstrup during the opening Ceremony of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival on June 10, 2012 in Monaco. Moore appeared in seven Bond films beginning with 1973's Live and Let Die and concluding with A View to a Kill 12 years later. He's the longest serving Bond, but was 58 when he retired from the roll ... and it showed. Let's just say his karate kicks hurt him more than the villains.



  • james_bond_50_years_tim_dalton.jpg

    Timothy Dalton attends the press night for Chariots of Fire at Gielgud Theatre on July 3, 2012 in London, England. Dalton's turn as Bond turned the super spy from a wise-cracking, wide-lapel wearing super spoof at the end of Roger Moore's turn into the dark, brooding character envisioned by author Ian Fleming.


    Ferdaus Shamim

  • james_bond_50_years_tim_dalton_then.jpg

    British actor Timothy Dalton, the new James Bond, arrives on September 5, 1987 at Deauville airport to present his new 007 movie The Living Daylights. Dalton starred as Bond just once more in Licence to Kill two years later. Legal troubles between Eon, the production company, and film studio UA/MGM dragged on far too long for Dalton to appear in a third film, GoldenEye, which went to Pierce Brosnan.