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The Only James Bond Actors Still Alive

James Bond turned espionage into big business at the box office. Whether it's showing off his latest toys from Q Branch, shaking, not stirring those trademark vodka martinis, or falling in love with beautiful Bond Girls, 007 saves the day over the course of 27 films. However, only eight actors belong to the fraternity of those who have played 007, and only four still live. Sadly, David Niven, Barry Nelson, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore are all dead.

Nelson has the honor of being the very first actor to play 007. His version of Bond appeared in an adaptation of "Casino Royale" on the television anthology series "Climax!" Eight years later, Connery provided the template for what the epitome of a silver screen 007 should be when he burst onto the scene in the first James Bond cinematic venture, "Dr. No." Confidence, athleticism, and intelligence were among the qualities Connery exuded during the seven films he made as the titular character representing the British Secret Service.

Niven portrayed Bond in the 1967 version of "Casino Royale," and then Moore took the baton from Connery after "Diamonds Are Forever." Moore made his first appearance as the secret agent in "Live and Let Die," before racing forward to star in six more installments of the "James Bond" franchise. Moore and Connery have the distinction of portraying Bond more than any other actors: seven times each. But which Bond actors are still alive at the time of writing?

George Lazenby was a one-and-done Bond

Model George Lazenby was hired to take Sean Connery's place after "You Only Live Twice," and he got the job despite only doing a limited amount of commercials. So, how did a virtually untrained actor from Australia land one of the most highly-coveted roles in motion pictures? "I had nothing on my mind night and day except getting that job," Lazenby said during an interview shot for the documentary "Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007."

Sadly, Lazenby was dealt one of the worst hands imaginable. First, Lazenby replaced Connery's Bond, who was the face of the franchise, but the script for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" also did the unthinkable: James got married! However, the lucky Bond Girl, Tracy (Diana Rigg), was gunned down after their wedding to conclude the movie.

The filmmakers' desperate attempt to right the ship didn't work, and Lazenby was done portraying 007 after only one film appearance. However, Lazenby wasn't fired. Rather, the producers offered him $1 million to return in the next Bond film, but Lazenby turned it down under advisement from his manager, Ronan O'Rahilly, according to an interview Lazenby did with Studio 10.

Timothy Dalton had big shoes to fill after replacing Roger Moore

Timothy Dalton was arguably best known by genre fans as Prince Barin in "Flash Gordon," and he took the reins when Roger Moore retired from the role in 1985. Dalton portrayed Bond twice, but he is arguably the only 007 not to make a stinker at the box office: The advantage of only having a pair of James Bond adventures under your belt. 

"Roger was brilliant at what he did," Dalton explained during an interview shot for the documentary "Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007."  Dalton wanted to approach the character of Bond from a different angle because he felt some of the more recent 007 films treaded too closely to a parody of the stories which came prior. "You've lost depth, you've lost texture, you've lost contradictions [and] you start to get shallow." 

While both "The Living Daylights" and "License to Kill" veer toward a grittier Bond, it's the latter that really saw a departure from the rest of the franchise. James' motivation in "License to Kill" is pure and simple revenge. Bond goes rogue in order to avenge his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter (David Hedison) when he's critically injured and his wife is murdered by the ruthless Sanchez, who is portrayed impeccably by Robert Davi. For whatever reason, the film landed with critics but missed with audiences, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Pierce Brosnan took over as Bond for 1995's GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan roared into the role next with the critical and fan success "GoldenEye," according to Rotten Tomatoes. And then Brosnan starred in three of the worst-reviewed Bond films ever made, starting with "Tomorrow Never Dies." Producers courted Brosnan to take over the role of James Bond after Roger Moore left the franchise following his final installment, "A View to a Kill." However, Brosnan couldn't accept the job because of his commitment to the television series "Remington Steele." Whether it was fate, or just the movie gods waiting for that precise moment, "GoldenEye" turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Brosnan to accept his license to kill.

"It was definitely a significant film in my career as an actor and will always remain so," Brosnan said during a "GoldenEye" watch-along from his home in Hawaii, courtesy of Esquire UK. "I had the most wonderful experience of my life making it." While this motion picture is definitely the pièce de résistance of Brosnan's contributions to the Bond legacy, "The World is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day" ultimately rebounded after the lukewarm reception "Tomorrow Never Dies" received.

Daniel Craig's 007 was killed off in No Time to Die

Actor extraordinaire Daniel Craig is alive and well despite the fact that his brilliant interpretation of the James Bond character was most unceremoniously dismissed from service in the otherwise satisfying "No Time to Die." Nevertheless, Craig admits he was emotional when it came time to say goodbye to the character, and the reaction he received from the cast and crew was truly overwhelming.

"Most movies, when you finish them, they're just big anticlimaxes," Craig said while talking about his last shot on "No Time to Die" during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show." "And every single person in the office had stayed late. All the cast had stayed late, all the crew had stayed late, and all the heads of the department, they all came [to set]. Suddenly, there's 200 people standing there."

And now that Craig has left the role, the search for a new 007 is on. While she doesn't know who will take on the role, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli expects some longevity from the next actor who gets behind the wheel of Bond's Aston Martin. "When we cast Bond, it's a 10, 12-year commitment," Broccoli said in an interview with Variety.