Photo: Courtesy of LIFE
“Skyfall” just saw the highest opening weekend of any James Bond film earning a huge $87.8 million at the U.S. box office. However, how much do you know about the secret agent of MI6?
Sure, you may know this isn’t REALLY the 23rd film in the franchise, and that Bond’s been around for more than 50 years–59 to be exact, but we bet you didn’t know Bond was almost a woman on screen.
We read through LIFE’s “50 Years of James Bond” to uncover some of the spy’s dirty laundry.
The 176-page book details many great tidbits from 007’s cars to gadgets, and shares behind-the-scenes photos of creator Ian Fleming and the many Bond men and women.
Here are a few items you may not know about 007.
007 and Fleming shared a lot in common right down to his hairstyle and eye colour.
Both were heavy smokers, loved to drink, and were womanizers.
Fleming and Bond also attended Eton, a British boarding school, and were lieutenant commanders in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Fleming even owned up to the personal inspiration behind his fictional spy saying, 'Bond was a compound of all the secret agents and commandos I met during the war.'
George Lazenby–the youngest man to play Bond–passed up on a reported $28 million to reprise his role as 007.
Lazenby starred as Bond once in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service.' Right before the film's premiere he announced he wouldn't return for another film no matter the paycheck.
According to LIFE, Lazenby thought the franchise was done with the impending onslaught of '70s hippie culture.
It took an hour and a half with makeup artist Paul Rabiger to transform actress Shirley Eaton into Bond's painted Golden girl.
The film was one of two unofficial Bond movies not released by United Artists.
As a little background, Connery signed on to do this film after a long-standing feud between he and Bond producers Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in which the actor claimed he wasn't paid his dues for his job.
Instead, he reunited with 'Thunderball' director Terence Young to bring 'Never Say Never Again' to the big screen in 1983 opposite Broccoli and Saltzman's 'Octopussy' starring Roger Moore.
Though 'Never Say Never Again' had a stronger opening than its competition ($10.8 million vs. $8.9 million), the UA film featuring Moore came out the overall winner with a $67.8 million gross at the time. 'Never Say Never Again earned $55.4 million.
Gayson has said she was originally supposed to play the role of Trench in the first six Bond films under director Terence Young.
Her character was dropped when Young didn't return to direct 'Goldfinger' after 'From Russia with Love.' Young did return for the next film 'Thunderball.'
BONUS: It was just revealed Skyfall's Bond, Daniel Craig, is related to the American ornithologist who inspired the character's name.
Ancestry.com family historian Michelle Ercanbrack told Yahoo! omg! they noticed similarities between Craig and Bond's trees.
'We discovered a fascinating connection between him and the actual bird-watching James Bond through English royalty,' said Ercanbrack.
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