Lazenby voted best Bond

QUEANBEYAN'S own international man of mystery George Lazenby has had his one and only James Bond film rated the best of all time by Bond fans across the globe.

Readers of 007 MAGAZINE were asked to rate all 24 Bond films (including the 'unofficial' 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again, the rogue 1983 Thunderball remake) on a scale from 0 to 10, with Lazenby's tour de force On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) rated the best Bond film, scoring an average of 8.912 points.

It finished in front of Sean Connery's (Lazenby's predecessor in the role) efforts in second-placed Goldfinger (1964) and third-placed From Russia with Love (1963).

It's a redeeming result for Lazenby, who was panned by some critics at the time for his inexperience in the role and poor delivery of his lines. He would also have the shortest career in the role of all the Bonds after his manager Ronan O'Rahilly convinced him to turn down a seven-movie contract on the grounds that the well-dressed, duty-driven establishment man Bond wouldn't survive in the groovy seventies.

Lazenby's rapid descent from movie mega star to pop culture fringe dweller was the result, although it seems Bond's most avid fans have cherished the former Queanbeyan car salesman's contribution to the genre.

Readers from 18 different countries cast over 3,000 votes in the poll, and 007 MAGAZINE editor Graham Rye said he wasn't surprised by the result.

"It was no surprise to me that OHMSS made it to Number One in the 007 MAGAZINE poll, and it's good to see that the cream of the crop starring Connery and Craig filled the rest of the top five positions," Mr Rye said.

As for Lazenby himself, he told the magazine that while proud of his acting in the film, he regretted leaving the franchise as early as he did.

"It feels pretty good most of the time, except when I read that the producers gave me up. I should have done another Bond film in hindsight, as it's hard for a Bond fan to imagine someone giving up such a wonderful role. The producers spread the word that I was difficult to handle and that stopped my career for a long time," he said.

Lazenby, now 73, moved to Queanbeyan from Goulburn aged 13 and spent the next decade here before relocating to London and establishing himself as a model and actor.

His post-Bond career has involved a string of lower-profile acting roles and work as a writer and producer. He currently lives in the America.

Fans' top 5

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969/George Lazenby)

2. Goldfinger (1964/Sean Connery)

3. From Russia with Love (1963/Sean Connery)

4. Casino Royale (2006/Daniel Craig)

5. Thunderball (1965/Sean Connery)

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide