James Bond actor George Lazenby is recovering from a fall: ‘Not easy getting older’

Former James Bond actor George Lazenby returned home over the weekend after spending weeks in a nursing facility after a fall.

George Lazenby smiles and poses as he looks off camera while wearing a black and white tuxedo

George Lazenby played James Bond for only a single movie in 1969, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
(Amanda Edwards / Getty Images)

In November, the 84-year-old Australian actor fell at his Los Angeles home and injured his head. He has been recovering at Beverly West Healthcare, according to his agent Anders Frejdh.

“From LA with Love Three weeks after my arrival I’m very happy to report our client George Lazenby has safely returned home,” Frejdh wrote in an Instagram post, sharing a photo of himself alongside Lazenby as the actor sat up in bed.

“After an accidental fall at home in November leading to a head injury he’s rehabilitated well thanks to the great team at Beverly West Healthcare for which I, his family and friends are grateful for.”

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Despite previous reports of a brain injury, a representative for Lazenby told People that the actor “doesn’t have, or have got, a brain injury of any kind,” adding that his fall led to a scar and some stitches.

Lazenby was the second actor to play British MI6 agent 007 in the James Bond movie franchise, replacing Sean Connery. He had the shortest tenure as Bond, only acting in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

Lazenby, a former car salesman, was an inexperienced actor when he was hired for the role; he had only been a commercial model. Through a chance meeting with a talent agent, he eventually auditioned for the Bond role, during which he lied to Eon Productions executives about his acting résumé, saying that he had acted internationally in China and Russia, “all countries I could think of they wouldn’t be able to check on,” Lazenby recalled in the 2017 Hulu documentary, “Becoming Bond.”

“I said, ‘Oh my God, I just told him a bunch of lies,’” he added. “I was s— myself underneath it all — I’m getting in over my head.”

Lazenby said that he went through a four-month process that included physical fitness tests, filming fight scenes with stunt actors and having sex under the supervision of the movie studio.

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The movie went on to achieve commercial success, prompting the studio to offer Lazenby a million-dollar contract for seven more Bond films.

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” which also stars Diana Rigg, has since aged as one of the most acclaimed installments of the franchise.

But there was conflict between Lazenby and the studio. After he grew a beard and long hair, Eon refused to pay for a U.S. press tour because he no longer looked the part of Bond, Lazenby said in the documentary.

Albert R. Broccoli, producer of the first several Bond films, told The Times in a 1978 interview that “choosing [Lazenby] to play Bond was by far my biggest mistake in 16 years.”

“He just couldn’t deal with success,” he said. “He was so arrogant. There was the stature and looks of a Bond but Lazenby couldn’t get along with other performers and technicians.”

Lazenby eventually turned down the studio’s long-term offer. In 2013, he told The Times that a friend had advised him to decline the role out of concern of being typecast.

But the move seemed to have gotten him blacklisted in Hollywood so he booked roles in independent films and shot in Italy and Hong Kong. He became the punchline of jokes as a “one-time Bond.”

“I just didn’t feel in my heart it was the right thing,” Lazenby said in the documentary, referring to the contract. “It’s an instinctive thing, a voice inside you, and you don’t think of the consequences.”

Even so, he embraced moving back to Australia, marrying and becoming a father and eventual grandfather. “I can’t think of anything I’d change,” he said.

Lazenby continues to act and is starring in several upcoming small-budget independent action films.

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