With December 2009 marking the 40th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, LIFE.com has decided to mark the occasion by releasing a stunning collection of previously unseen audition photographs from the 1969 James Bond film.
‘He was a great looking guy and he moved along very well. I think if things had gone the other way, he would have gone on to be a very good Bond.’ – OHMSS‘s Peter Hunt on George Lazenby
30 photos in total, the snapshots chronicle the indepth audition process taken to find a successor to Sean Connery’s 007 after the actor called it quits following 1967’s You Only Live Twice.
Featured contenders include George Lazenby (obviously), John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Robert Campbell and Hans de Vries alongside several Bond girl hopefuls. Bond fans will also spot OHMSS director Peter Hunt in a few of the shots as well.
Read on to check out the photographs…
Who Would Be James Bond?
In the early ’60s, movie producers adapting Ian Fleming’s novels about a suave British spy named James Bond plucked a relative unknown, Sean Connery, out of obscurity and offered him the role of a lifetime. And when Connery left the franchise after five movies, the hunt for Bond was on again. LIFE sent photographer Loomis Dean to the final casting sessions for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (released 40 years ago this week), and the magazine published a handful of those photos. But some of the choicest frame—Bond wannabes suiting up, holding guns, drinking martinis, wooing women—have never been seen…until now. Meet each of the five top candidates (including ultimate choice George Lazenby, bottom right in this composite image), and check out their best moves.
Keep your browsers pointed to the CommanderBond.net main page and our Twitter feed for continued coverage from the world of 007.