America’s favorite British spy/murderer is back in the new blockbuster Skyfall, and once again we are all wondering what it is about playing James Bond that makes actors get very old almost immediately. Is it some kind of English curse? Just look at Daniel Craig. Yes, a very handsome man with very blue eyes and very pronounced biceps in a state of “perpetual plyometric engagement,” but the dude is only 44 years old! He’s six years younger than Tom Cruise, who still looks about 25. Anyway, this so-called English Curse That Makes Bond Actors Super Old is a real thing, which can be documented with photographs, so that is exactly what we have done for you.
Next, beloved Scottish icon Sean Connery, who began the James Bond series as a smooth-skinned youth … but ended it just a few years later as a bald, pot-bellied pig. In the same time it took Paul McCartney to basically go through puberty, Sean Connery aged a quarter of a century, boom. Later, People magazine named him the “most sexiest man to ever live,” because that was a thing for a while. And despite being basically the same age as Harrison Ford, Sean Connery played Harrison Ford’s dad in one of those Indiana Jones movies. Is the English Curse also a Scottish Curse? Probably.
The worst James Bond was this guy, Roger Moore. Reportedly a very nice/pleasant man (and a KNIGHT, because of the Queen or whatever), Sir Roger Moore went from 1970s heartthrob (we guess?) to doddering geriatric in what seemed like about six months. Don’t let this happen to the handsome men in your life.
Timothy Dalton was a very underappreciated James Bond. He was hard-ass, and The Living Daylights was the best 007 movie in, who knows, probably 10 years in either direction. But, because of the dreaded English Curse of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, tough-but-handsome Timothy Dalton rapidly deteriorated into something like The Gollum. He is still a good actor, though, and recently played a Space Monster on Doctor Who.
And then there’s “the forgotten Bond,” the suave Pierce Brosnan, now best known as teevee’s Brian Williams.
Ha ha, actually this is Old Pierce Brosnan, preparing for his Broadway role as Kentucky Fried Chicken mastermind Colonel Sanders in the upcoming musical Franchise, the Musical!
Finally, we have George Lazenby, ““a popular figure on Twitter” (?), and also a respected Australian fashion model who portrayed James Bond in the gritty and weird On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Then the producers brought Sean Connery back, in a toupée and girdle. Lazenby did get old, but not in a particularly fast way, and also maybe nobody was looking?
But the Bond curse does not always do terrible things to the series’ actors … especially if they’re actresses. One example is Maud Adams, she of Octopussy and The Man With the Golden Gun, who is now 67 years old and, as you see in the picture on the right, from just a few years ago, looks amaze. Perhaps this is because of the goddess/princess Diana, who watches over the Bond Ladies and would still be England’s queen of hearts at 50, if she hadn’t been killed by the Saudis or Prince Charles or whatever. Leave the killing to James Bond, the agent with a license to kill and also a license to get super old very quickly.
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Ken Layne portrayed Agent 007 in the classic 1954 American television version of Casino Royale.