10 Facts You May Not Know About James Bond

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

James Bond: the world's most famous and beloved spy. Every guy wanted to be him and every woman wanted to be with him. From Sean Connery, the big screen's original Bond, to Daniel Craig (the first-ever blond Bond), the star of the biggest-grossing-ever Bond feature Skyfall, agent 007 has captured the hearts of fans the world over. Let's take a look at a few things you may not have known about agent 007.

1. The First Ever James Bond Live Incarnation

Although we all automatically think of James Bond as a British chap, the very first living incarnation of the famous agent was American. In 1954, on CBS television, American actor Barry Nelson played James "Jimmy" Bond on the anthology show Climax! Uh, Jimmy Bond? No kidding -Jimmy Bond.

As if to be deliberately ironic, CIA agent Felix Leiter was converted to British MI6 agent Clarence Leiter for this adaptation -he was played by Australian actor Michael Pate.

2. The James Bond Name

There is a slight dispute about the genesis of the James Bond name. Some claim the name is derived from Sir Thomas Bond, a 15th-century English landowner. In fact, in the James Bond novels, the agent actually says he is related to the knight. Shortly before his death in 1964, Bond author Ian Fleming said he wanted to find a name "as mundane as possible." Fleming claims he ended up getting the moniker from a birdwatching book he had handy. The super spy was named in honor of ornithologist Dr. James Bond.

Many claim the Bond character was based on Fleming himself: they both preferred coffee to tea, both smoked the same kind of cigarettes, both were commanders in the British Navy, and both loved and had the same taste in women.

3. The James Bonds That Never Were

Of course, we all know that Sean Connery was the first movie Bond. But originally, Ian Fleming wanted actor David Niven. Cary Grant was offered the role (he said he was too old). Patrick McGoohan turned the role down, saying Bond was "too promiscuous." Later, Gerard Butler rejected the role -he thought it would "ruin his career."

Bond producer Cubby Broccoli wanted his cousin Christopher Lee to play 007, but Lee thought their relationship was a conflict of interest. Lee did play a Bond villain in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds both turned down the role, insisting Bond should be British. Will Smith rejected even considering the role, although Daniel Craig insisted "the world was ready for a black Bond." Adam West had a shot, but he was tied to his TV series Batman at the time.

Possibly the oddest-ever possible Bond was singer Tom Jones.

4. Two Bond Movies Showing at the Same Time

Only once in history did two Bond films compete against each other. By a strange twist of fate, Sean Connery's final appearance as 007 in Never Say Never Again was actually playing at the same time that the infamous Octopussy with Roger Moore was out.

Never Say Never Again screenwriter Jack Whittingham Kevin McClory had sued Ian Fleming over the writing credits on Thunderball and was awarded the right to do Never Say Never Again and screen it whenever he wanted. This caused the once-only event of two Bond films appearing onscreen against each other at the box office, in 1983.*

5. The Sex Appeal Test

Sean Connery was originally spotted by James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli at a screening of his kiddie film Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Broccoli was impressed by the final climactic scene in the film where Connery has a fist fight with the movie's bully.

While he was impressed, Broccoli wanted to test Connery's sex appeal, so he took his wife Dana to another screening of the film. Mrs. Broccoli was very impressed herself and confirmed Connery's appeal to women.

6. Goldfinger Film Firsts

Just as Sean Connery is, indisputably, the most popular and beloved James Bond, 1964's Goldfinger is, by far, the most popular Bond film. Goldfinger features the James Bond incarnation we were all to become familiar with.

This was the first Bond film to have 007 driving his famous Aston-Martin and the first to have Bond using his legendary gadgets and gimmicks. Goldfinger was the first film in history to feature a laser beam.

Also, the film contains the first-ever reference to the Beatles within a movie. When Bond is asked about a certain wine and when to drink it, he replies by saying, "That's as bad as listening to the Beatles without ear muffs."

7. James Bond Wore a Rug?

Yes, Sean Connery wore a toupee during each of his appearances as 007.

8. What the Heck is Thunderball?

Although not a super-popular Bond film, Thunderball is actually Sean Connery's personal favorite performance of all his Bond appearances. But what exactly does "Thunderball" mean, anyway? Few seem to know. "Thunderball" is actually a military term used to describe a mushroom cloud seen during the testing of an atomic bomb.

9. Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette

In the Ian Fleming novels, 007 is a chronic cigarette smoker -smoking 70 a day! But Sean Connery does not smoke that frequently in his seven Bond films. We all, of course, remember his most immortal line, from 1962's Dr. No: "Bond… James Bond," spoken as he suavely lights up his ciggie.

Roger Moore wanted his portrayal of Bond to be as different from Connery's as possible, so he smoked cigars. In fact Moore had a clause in his contract awarding him an unlimited supply of cigars on set. How many did he smoke during his seven Bond films (both on and off screen)? According to producer Broccoli, it was "in the thousands."

10. The Worst-Ever Bond

Just as Sean Connery is universally the most popular Bond, George Lazenby is generally regarded as the least-liked 007. After Connery left the series in the late 1960s, George Lazenby was given the role as his successor Bond in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It seemed a sufficient choice; Lazenby was the world's highest-paid male model in 1968.

But after many altercations, director Peter Hunt grew to dislike Lazenby and refused to speak to him directly. The cast and crew confirmed that Lazenby was "difficult to work with." Also, Lazenby's Australian accent was often unintelligible and actually was dubbed over by an English actor in most of his scenes.

*This paragraph was edited and corrected with help from commenters rojomoke and . We regret the previous errors.

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Eddie, do you have any evidence to support your claims that 'Octopussy' is "infamous," or that 'Thunderball' is "not a super-popular Bond film," or that "few seem to know" what a thunderball is?

Have you even seen 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'? Lazenby's accent is perfectly understandable throughout. The dubbed dialogue was dubbed because Bond was impersonating the voice of another character. As for why Lazenby wasn't re-hired for the next film, the reasons are more complex than your unflattering oversimplification.

It feels like you wrote a hastily-researched article on a subject you know little about.
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Thunderball not super-popular? It sure was when it came out! Many thought it out-did Goldfinger. Having a cameo of the Aston Martin DB-5, a massive underwater action scene, and a freaking jet pack? What's not to love? I much prefer Thunderball over You Only Live Twice (where Connery looks bored/tired of the role most of the time), and it's TONS better than Diamonds Are Forever, or its remake, Never Say Never Again.
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A few days ago, I saw an old promotional interview of Daniel Craig for the Tomb Raider movie. His teeth were bad, his voice was whiny, and he seemed a bit unsure of himself. Certainly pre-Bond to the core.
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Moore or Dalton are the worst Bonds, not Lazenby.

Supposedly, Diana Rigg would eat onions or garlic before her kissing scenes with George.

Clive Owen also turned down the part, saying that it would end his career. -But what's he done lately?
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McClory was not a "Never Say Never Again" screenwriter - what Doug says above is correct.

Lazenby did a fine job in OHMSS - his main offense was not being Sean Connery.

Tariq is correct, the 1967 Casino Royale is dreadful - it was released 2 months before You Only Live Twice, so they may have also been in theaters at the same time...
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