So, how much did you know about our man John Gavin?
Did you realize that Gavin was just about all set to play 007 in two of the James Bond films, 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever and 1973’s Live and Let Die? In both cases, his participation was scuttled at the last minute.
The original Bond, Sean Connery, had “retired” from the role which was taken over by George Lazenby in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. When he dropped out for Diamonds, Gaven was in line to take over.
However the studio front office feared his name was not sufficiently commercial to underpin the movie, so Connery was persuaded to return. In the case of Live and Let Die, producer Harry Saltzman believed that a British actor was better suited to play Bond (Gavin was California born) so Roger Moore stepped in.
Ah, the things that could have been. Now to the answers to our John Gavin Quiz.
Question: Gavin actually came pretty close — twice — to playing James Bond onscreen. Which actors aced his chances at the last minute? a) George Lazenby; b) Sean Connery; c) Roger Moore; or d) Pierce Brosnan.
Answer: As discussed above, (b) and (c).
Question: As a result of his performance in the movie pictured below, Gavin was awarded a 1959 Golden Globe as the most promising screen newcomer. Can you identify this film?
Answer: 1958’s A Time To Live and A Time To Die. a Douglas Sirk war drama in which Gavin plays a rebellious German soldier.
3. Question: Gavin’s is not particularly associated with this 1960 film although there he is in the cast with the likes of Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton. The title of this picture is…?
Answer: 1960’s Spartacus directed by Stanley Kubrick.
4. Question: Gavin was perhaps better suited to the kind of glossy romantic melodrama exemplified by the 1959 Douglas Sirk outing with Lana Turner and Sandra Dee. Can you identify the movie pictured below?
Answer: Imitation of Life.
5. Question: In the late 1970’s Gavin appeared in a tv movie about Italian actress Sophia Loren, playing which one of these classic leading men? a) Clark Gable; b) Rudolph Valentino; c) Cary Grant; or d) Franchot Tone.
Answer: c) Cary Grant. The television movie was 1980’s Sophia Loren: Her Own Story, which tells of the Italian actress’ quite serious offscreen affair with Grant.