GEORGE LAZENBY’S appearance at The Music of James Bond in Perth will be a poignant affair with his daughter Jennifer directing a dance number at the show.
The WA Symphony Orchestra will perform all the Bond hits with special guest singers Bonnie Anderson and Luke Kennedy, and the only Aussie ever to play 007, George Lazenby, will appear live on-stage.
Jennifer was raised in Perth by her grandparents and didn’t meet her famous dad until she was in her twenties, but over the past three decades they have bonded and now have a close father/daughter relationship.
“My father keeps in regular contact with myself and his grand children,” she says.
Jennifer is artistic director of Footwork Dance Australia in Port Kennedy, whose students will be dancing to No Time to Die – the Billie Eilish theme from Daniel Craig’s final Bond film.
“I started learning dance at the age of two and took over my dance teacher’s school when she asked me at the age of 24,” Jennifer says.
“Since then I’ve spent 36 years of my life building up my Footwork studio and helping my aspiring students achieve their dreams.”
Jennifer says she gets emotional when she hears the theme from the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring her father as 007.
“My favourite bond theme would be We have all the time in the World, because it touches me,” she says. “When I see my dad on screen with that music playing, It makes me sad. There is never enough time.”
George Lazenby famously quit Bond after just one movie to pursue more relevant and meaningful film work, but his career stalled and then petered out at the end of the 1970s, when he moved into business and invested in real estate.
In the decades that followed he mostly appeared in low-profile TV shows and films.
Prior to Bond, the Aussie model had only acted in commercials, leading some to criticise his performance in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as wooden, but others praised his brooding masculinity and the physical presence he brought to the role.
In recent years there has been a critical reappraisal of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, with many praising Lazenby’s acting and the innovative direction of Peter Hunt.
In the 1970s, Lazenby rejected the whole premise of Bond saying it was out of touch with society and didn’t reflect the counter-culture and peace movement, but in recent years he has mellowed and become more affectionate towards the franchise, appearing at Bond-related conventions and events.
So at the age of 82 is George Lazenby finally at peace with 007 and how it turned his life upside down?
“I can’t speak for my dad or anyone else however, I would imagine he has mixed feelings,” Jennifer says.
“Becoming Bond changed his life forever. Of course there are all the benefits that everyone would easily recognise, however it would be human nature to imagine what your life would have been if you didn’t become Bond.”
The Music of James Bond with George Lazenby Live on Stage is at The Perth Concert Hall 7.30pm on September 10. Tix at tickets.perthconcerthall.com. au/12581/12582
by STEPHEN POLLOCK