Director Terence Young’s odd latter career: Historically, the job of directing Bond went not to crappy auteurs like Marc Foster and Sam Mendes, but to workhorses who stuck with the franchise and did little else of note. Young, who helmed Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball, has a terrific post-Bond credit in Wait Until Dark. His most insane is a toss-up: It’s either Inchon, the notorious, barely seen General MacArthur war picture funded by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, or Long Days, a 1980 biopic that celebrated the life of Saddam Hussein, on which he served as supervising editor.
George Lazenby wasn’t terrible: The Australian model, discovered by producer Albert Broccoli in a barber shop, only lasted one film, and it’s assumed because he stunk. In fact, Lazenby quit the role before the film’s release, citing Bond as a “brute” and the producers as idiots. Time has been kind to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, arguably the series’ pinnacle. Ditto Lazenby who, while a touch too laddish, has the vigor Sean Connery had but then lost. And he nails the final scene.
Crispin Glover’s dad was a Bond villain: Bruce Glover, who sired George McFly, is an actor, too—most famously in Diamonds Are Forever as Mr. Wint, the quippy, not-so-ambiguously gay assassin alongside Mr. Kidd, played by jazz bassist Putter Smith.
Bond was nearly played by Michael Billington: I know, right? Who? Though never a household name, this dashing TV vet was Broccoli’s first choice (after Roger Moore), and between 1973 and 1983, he was thrice screen-tested. Eventually. he was given a tiny role in The Spy Who Loved Me, one of his few film appearances.
The 1954 Live and Let Die novel is grotesquely old-school racist: It includes a chapter titled “Nigger Paradise.” The 1973 film drops Ian Fleming’s persistent use of the word “negro,” but still generally fears a black planet.
Sean Connery is three years younger than Roger Moore: In 1983, competing Bonds emerged: Octopussy and Never Say Never Again, the latter from independent producers who forked out a sum for Connery. In the latter, Connery, 53, plays an aging 007 called back into the field. Meanwhile, in Octopussy, it was business as usual, with a 56-year old Moore. He still had one more to go.