Seven men have played James Bond across 26 films. Below we take a look at those actors and what they’ve done since leaving the role.
Commander James Bond, secret agent 007, began life as a creation of British author Ian Fleming in 1953 with Casino Royale. Its success led to the movie rights being sold and Fleming reprising the character in an additional 11 novels and two short-story collections before his death in 1964.
Before that first book could reach the screen, Eon Productions, formed by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, purchased the rights to the rest of Fleming’s Bond novels. Sean Connery debuted the character onscreen in 1962’s Dr. No.
During Connery’s run, Casino Royale finally got made, albeit in a version far different than what fans expected. The film, starring David Niven as Bond, spoofed the genre, and was closer in tone to Mike Myers‘ vision of the Swinging Sixties in the Austin Powers franchise than Fleming’s novels. (Fleming and Niven were actually friends; the actor was name-checked in the You Only Live Twice book).
Connery walked away from 007 after 1967’s You Only Live Twice, and Eon chose George Lazenby, an Australian-born model, to star in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But Lazenby, who never acted before, caused problems on the set, so Connery was enticed back a few years later for Diamonds Are Forever before leaving Eon for good.
Enter Roger Moore, who, as the lead character in the British TV show The Saint, had experience in playing a spy onscreen. He debuted in 1973’s Live and Let Die and remained in the role for seven movies over a dozen years, during which time Connery came back once more for 1983’s Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball for a different studio.
The Shakespearean-trained Timothy Dalton then took over the James Bond mantle, seeing out the ’80s in two films before protracted litigation between Eon and its distribution company carried on until his contract expired. Dalton was replaced in 1995 by Pierce Brosnan, who’d been hyped as a potential James Bond since breaking through with the TV show Remington Steele. GoldenEye was the first of his four Bond films; he left after Die Another Day in 2002.
By 2006, Eon was finally able to make its own version of Casino Royale, which marked the debut of Daniel Craig as the spy. Four more films followed, with 2020’s No Time to Die expected to be his last turn as Bond.
Below, James Bond Actors: Where Are They Now? outlines 007 and the men who played him over the years.