George Lazenby, the first actor to play James Bond on screen after Sean Connery departed the role, paid tribute to the original 007 on his 90th birthday.
Connery, who played Ian Fleming’s iconic creation in seven films, turned 90 on 25 August, and 80-year-old Lazenby shared his best wishes on Instagram calling the Scot “the all-time greatest 007”.
Lazenby stepped into Connery’s shoes for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but quit the role after just one outing as 007. Connery returned for 1971’s James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, then later for 1983’s unofficial Never Say Never Again.
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“Happy 90th birthday to the all time greatest @007 - Sean Connery,” Lazenby wrote on his Instagram.
“Sean, for me, was always the man. I walked in his footsteps - I had to look and dress like Sean Connery - I went to his barber's and tailors. I had no fear when I went up for the role - he was the guy who inspired me to never hesitate.
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“Another thing we have in common is that we're both family men, so best wishes to Lady Connery, your kids and grand kids and stay safe.”
Non-actor Lazenby famously blagged the Bond role despite being a total unknown at the time, and remains the youngest actor to ever play 007 at 29. He also holds the record for the shortest tenure as Bond.He had been offered a seven-film contract, but walked away following advice from his agent who warned him about being typecast. His one and only outing as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is considered by fans to be one of the best in the franchise.
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According to the excellent book Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films by Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury, Connery once told Lazenby he had been impressed by his performance.
His tribute follows one from Pierce Brosnan, the fifth James Bond, who yesterday shared his best wishes to his predecessor calling him “my Bond of inspiration”.
The official 007 social media pages also sent messages of congratulations to the nonagenarian, sharing the actor’s introduction as Bond from his 1962 debut in Dr. No, including personal wishes from No Time To Die producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson.