Two articles from the November 1999 issue of Biography Magazine, feature James Bond alumni. The first, profiles American actress and Never Say Never Again Bond Girl, Kim Basinger, and the second answers the question, 'whatever happened to George Lazenby?'
Last year, when Kim Basinger swept onstage to accept the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, fashion hounds took one look at her sleek hairdo and stunning, pastel satin Escada gown and proclaimed her "most improved" in the style department.
It's hard to believe that the actress whose cool, blond elegance recalled Grace Kelly was the same woman who appeared at the 1991 Oscars in the evening's biggest fashion disaster--a hilariously awful one-sleeved froufrou creation she had designed herself.
Over the past seven years, Basinger has gradually transformed her style, exchanging big hair, red lips, and flashy, attention-grabbing clothes for a shorter, no-fuss coif, natural makeup, and classic, comfortable clothes a la Katharine Hepburn.
She insists that the understated woman in a white T-shirt, jeans, and husband Alec Baldwin's oversize jacket is more the "real" Kim Basinger than the slinky sex kittens she has portrayed in many of her films.
"She's very different from that Hollywood glamourpuss," Curtis Hanson, the director of L.A. Confidential (the film for which Basinger won an Oscar), has said. "She's tomboyish, slightly awkward, she clomps around in her heels. The reality is that the woman you see onscreen isn't her."
A small-town Georgia girl, Basinger became a successful model in New York before moving to Los Angeles in 1976 to break into acting. With her bee-stung lips, flaxen hair, and creamy skin, she soon landed steamy roles in films like Never Say Never Again and Nine 1/2 Weeks.
After a flotilla of forgettable movies, Basinger reignited her career in 1997 with her award-winning performance as a prostitute in L.A. Confidential.
After shooting the film, Basinger cut her hair short and showed up at events looking smartly pulled together in streamlined shifts, sweater sets, and vintage '50s finds.
However, the 5' 7 1/2" actress has no interest in becoming a trendsetter. Rarely seen at fashion shows or browsing in chic boutiques, Basinger prefers to live quietly in Amagansett, New York, with Baldwin and their 4-year-old daughter, Ireland.
VITAL STATISTICS 45 years old. Born in Athens, Georgia, the middle of five children of a musician-turned-businessman and a former model. Won the Georgia Junior Miss title, which led to a modeling career (Breck shampoo, Revlon cosmetics) in New York.
FILM DEBUT Hard Country (1981)
The farmers fatate who detraits a baseball player's career in the Natural (1984); the Soho art dealer involve with a sadistic lover in Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986); photojournalist Vicki Vale in Batman (1989) the loyal wife off a bank robber on the lam in the remake of the Getaway (1994)
I Dreamed of Africa
ACCOLADES Golden Globe, Oscar (both for L.A. Confidential)
PERSONAL Married from 1982 to 1988 to Ron Britton, a Hollywood makeup artist; married Alec Baldwin in 1994; daughter Ireland born the following year. A long-time vegetarian, active in animal-rights organizations
Leading makeup authority Laura Geller has spent 22 years helping the world's most glamorous women look their best. Her star-studded client list over the years has included such luminaries as Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli, and Jodie Foster. Below, she offers Biography Magazine readers a few secrets on how anyone can look like a star.
Kim's L.A. Confidential look captures a return to the romantic 1940s look. To replicate the soft, opaque skin tone, use base a shade lighter than your skin. Blush is in soft coral tones. Eyes and cheeks are strongly contoured to enhance cheekbones. Lids are dark and smoky--try Estee Lauder's wide selection of charcoal browns and grays. White pearlescent shadow is applied under the brow. Bottom lashes are lined with deep taupe shadow that doubles as liner. Finally, dust with a translucent powder, such as Clinique's loose powder. For the dramatic lips, use a lipstick and coordinating lip pencil--perhaps one of Chanel's many bold matte crimson and ruby tones.
To capture the au naturel look so popular among stars today, start with a sheer, dewy foundation to add shimmer and hide tiny flaws. Look for one labeled "light-diffusing."A good example is Aveda's Universal Glow Color & Shimmer Liquid. Follow with cream blush in coral or pink. No powder is used. Eyebrows are lightly dusted with lightbrown powder and combed through to fill in gaps, but not defined. Lids are not contoured. Eyeshadow is a light soft pink. Liner below the eye is a soft, smoky navy or deep blue. Just one coat of mascara is used to deepen lashes. Lipstick is a nude color in soft creamy coral or pink. Check out Revlon's extensive selection of nude lipstick shades.
How She Gets That Look
ESSENTIALS White T-shirts, baggy jeans, leggings, sweater sets, sheath dresses, classic gowns
SIGNATURE ACCESSORIES Baseball caps, barets, loafers, dark sunglasses
BEST LOOK Mint-green satin Escada gown; white strapless Randoph Duke gown
FAVORITE LABELS Armani, Celine, Gap, Ralph Lauren
By Jill Gerston
Additional research by Carey A. McCoy
Where are they now? George Lazenby
If only I knew 30 years ago what I know now about acting. If only I knew then what I know now about life!"
So says the man who only lived once as James Bond.
Lazenby is the Australian who had the great fortune and bad luck to follow Sean Connery in the role of Agent 007. He shot to overnight stardom when cast in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the 1969 Bond film that marked his acting debut, but his career fizzled when he became a scapegoat for the poorly received movie.
"I used to be bitter about how things turned out," he admits. "But I've made my peace with that. Besides, a lot of my troubles were of my own making."
Indeed, a more mature Lazenby--one schooled in the movie business and less consumed by ego--wouldn't have become embroiled in a stormy relationship with executive producer Cubby Broccoli. Instead of more outings as 007, he developed a reputation as troublesome and struggled to get any meaningful acting roles.
At least Lazenby, now 60, can take solace in knowing On Her Majesty's Secret Service, maligned at the time, is now regarded as one of the best Bond films. "Isn't that amazing how people are saying that now?" he asks. "I guess it just had to have some time for people to give it another chance." Perhaps more important, though, he likes how he has turned out as a person.
Still ruggedly handsome, Lazenby moved to Los Angeles from Hawaii a few years ago to revive a career consisting mostly of minor roles and B movies. He rates a recent acting gig on TV's The Pretender, which might become a recurring role, as "the best piece of work I've had in a long time."
When not acting, his passion is dirtbike racing. "It's been very addictive, and I've been doing very well at it. I'm the over-50 expert champion in California. I like to live on the edge a little bit, and that's how I do it, on my motorcycle."
[Source: Biography. Nov99, Vol. 3 Issue 11, p26, 32, 34. Copyright © 1999 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.]