After Sean Connery left the role of James Bond in 1967 after "You Only Live Twice", producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired an unknown- George Lazenby- to take over the part of 007. Lazenby starred in the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and although he acquitted himself well, he shocked the industry by quitting the series after this one film. With the future of the franchise in jeopardy, the producers considered every viable leading man to star in the next Bond film, "Diamonds are Forever". Ultimately, they decided on American actor John Gavin, best known for his role in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". Although Gavin agreed to take the part, United Artists head of production, David V. Picker was squeamish about the prospects of an American 007. Overtures had been made to Sean Connery to reprise the role but they all failed, largely because of Connery's well-documented and long-standing disputes with the producers. Picker took a gamble and flew to visit Connery near his home in Spain. The two men discussed the Bond franchise over a game of golf. Picker managed to get Connery to concede to return for "Diamonds are Forever" on the proviso that the one-picture deal would net him the highest salary ever paid to an actor: $1.25 million, which Connery wanted to use to finance the establishment of a charity in Scotland. The deal also called for U.A. to finance two future non-Bond films, but only one- "The Offence"- was actually made. Picker's strategy worked, as Connery's return to the role ensured that "Diamonds are Forever" was a major hit when it opened in 1971. Connery rejected the predictable entreaties to get him to return for "Live and Let Die" and the role went to Roger Moore, who starred in seven highly successful Bond movies.
Fans have often pondered how John Gavin would have fared in the role of 007. An enterprising person has posted this imaginary scenario using clips from a "B" 1968 French spy movie in which Gavin starred, "O.S.S 117: Double Agent", which conveniently also starred future Bond baddie Curt Jurgens. With some clever dubbing of dialogue, this amusing clip compilation is the closest we'll ever to see to an ad campaign that boasted "John Gavin IS James Bond!"