James Bond auditions – Star admits embarrassing himself in front of 007 producer

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

It’s been 18 years since the last round of James Bond auditions and the odds currently have Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the favourite to be cast as the new 007 after Daniel Craig.

Back in the late 1960s, original Bond Sean Connery had had enough of the part and quit after 1967’s You Only Live Twice.

Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman set out to audition for his replacement, a part that eventually went to one-time 007 George Lazenby.

Yet during the process, British actor and musical theatre star Jess Conrad had a shot but ended up messing up his audition before it had barely begun.

In a new interview, the 87-year-old shared how he embarrassed himself when trying out for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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Appearing at Sheppey’s Criterion Theatre, Jess Conrad admitted that at the time he’d invested in a pair of £100 blue contact lenses.

The reason was that he believed that all successful male actors had blue eyes like Paul Newman.

According to Kent Online, the former teen idol said: “I ran up the stairs to the audition room and knocked on the door. But while I waited to be called in I suddenly realised I had forgotten to put my ‘eyes’ in.

“As producer Cubby Broccoli called ‘Come in’ I was struggling to put my lenses in and dropped one on the carpet. I picked it up and put it in but I also put a hair from the floor into my eye at the same time.”

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Conrad, who used to share a flat with Michael Caine and Terence Stamp said: “I couldn’t see a thing but walked in and announced ‘My name’s Conrad, Jess Conrad’ in my best Bond voice. I then heard a voice sigh and say: ‘I’m over here!’”

Attempting to step back, the temporarily visually challenged actor apologised but ended up backing himself into a broom cupboard.

On missing out on playing Bond, he added: “It was most unfortunate.”

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