November 1, 2010

The Unseen James Bond Auditions of 1968

The new LIFE magazine, which now exists mainly online, has a cool feature about the casting of James Bond after Sean Connery left the franchise. In 1968, the producers got together the five finalists for a Bond-Off studio session in London where they took stills and shot some test footage to see who looked best holding the martini and fondling the girl. has some great highlights on their website.

A close runner up was John Richardson, a slim/sexy '60's star who appeared memorably in ONE MILLION BC (with Raquel Welch) and ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (with Babs Streisand).  Too bad he didn't make the cut as he looks quite fine in this shot and others where he's wearing a revealing square cut suit.  However, the role eventually went to George Lazenby who had his one and only outing as 007 in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.