Welcome to the second in a series of posts celebrating the history of the Silver Screen in support of World Alzheimer's Month. These posts are designed to prompt conversation with people living with a dementia, to help evoke memories of the past, promoting interaction, social contact and engagement.
Today gives us the chance to reflect on one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. James Bond.
George Lazenby, the Australian actor and model, who played James Bond in the 1968 film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service celebrates his 79th birthday today.
Sean Connery played Bond in the five films between 1962 and 1967, and when he stepped down from the role Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli went in search of a replacement.
23 year old Lazenby had travelled to London in 1963 following a girlfriend at the time from New South Wales. After selling used cars in Finchley, he moved to Park Lane to sell high-end new ones.
He was spotted and invited to become a male model, most famously appearing for Fry's chocolate. Having his haircut one day, Cubby Broccoli, by pure chance, was in the same salon. He invited Lazenby to a screen test, and the rest, as they say, is 007 history.
Lazenby hadn't acted before and was pretty (over) confident in his abilities to play such a popular figure. He felt uncomfortable with the naked commerciality of the role, and this, along with believing that an enlightened 1970's would reject the character, led him to turn down the opportunity to play him again.
Image source: New York Post.
Diana Rigg, his co-star, thought his arrogance was leading him to throw away an amazing opportunity. Lazenby though, shunned the millions of pound, turning his back to become an actor elsewhere.
Sean Connery came back to play Bond in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever before passing the baton to Roger Moore who played the role seven times between 1973 and 1985.
If you have a friend or family member that you'd like to talk 'Bond' with, maybe print off pictures of the actors and find the theme music to play in the background. Maybe find a Bond movie on the TV and have it playing.
You can prompt conversation by asking about favourite films, actors, villains, theme tunes etc. Here are a few pointers on history and trivia to play with.
The Bond books were written by Ian Fleming, who wrote the first Bond book, Casino Royale, in 1952.
His WW2 service and his journalistic experience helped form James Bond and the details of the storylines.
Fleming was involved during the War with Operation Goldeneye, a name he later gave to his home in Jamaica and which also became the title for a 1995 Bond movie.
After becoming a comic strip in the Daily Express in the late 1950's, the first Bond film, Dr No was released in 1962.
It starred Sean Connery, who returned in 1983 to play Bond for the seventh time in Never Say Never Again. This film, a remake of the 1965 film Thunderball, reportedly was named as a play on a quote from Connery. In 1971, he said "Never again" when asked when he'd be playing Bond next.
This post provides ideas to engage people living with a dementia. Aside from the Silver Screen, looking back in a planned way at any strand of history and preparing some prompts within a theme can be hugely helpful.
Today, for example is also the birthday of Freddie Mercury, so listening to and talking about Queen, music from the 1970's and 1980's, Live Aid etc, can all be used to provoke memories.
Image source: Getty Images/ Steve Jennings.
In other news, Mother Teresa sadly passed away today in 1997. This might spark a conversation with some older people who watched her deliver her ministries over the years, and Cassius Clay won his Olympic gold medal today in 1960, changing his name soon after to Muhammad Ali. This might prompt conversations about sporting memories.
So, a happy birthday to George Lazenby, enjoy a bit of Bond, and feel free to share to support World Alzheimer's Month.
Thanks for reading.
Jeremy... the name's Jeremy.