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Topic: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

This was posted in the depths of the IMDB boards. Theres no reveal of the source, and one supposes it is taken from the Daily Mirror in 1970. The wording is so precise about incidents that it has to be between the pair of them.


January 1970: Daily Mirror
The Biggest Row In Showbusiness

It began with a devastating open letter from Diana Rigg to George Lazenby, her co-star in the new James Bond film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." It continued last night when Lazenby blasted back. Here are the letters in the Great Showbiz Storm.

28, Finchley Road, NW8

Dear George,

The film has opened and is, I hear, making a great deal of money at the box office. This means you have been accepted by the public, which bodes well for your future career. Why, then, do you persist in dwelling on your petty grievances?

I’m tired of reading those paranoid statements to the Press wherein you were solely surrounded by hostile people. I agree that by the end of the film most of the crew were hostile, but only because of your extreme behaviour.

Why else would your dresser threaten to hand in his notice? Why else would three chauffeurs leave you within a week? Why else was one member of the unit restrained from striking you after one inexcusable and crude outburst against one of the girls in the film?

Remember once telling me you valued honesty greatly and that I was “if nothing else, honest”? Perhaps you would prefer not to. But, let’s get some of those highly-coloured incidents between us straightened out truthfully.

NO, GEORGE, I did not eat garlic on purpose. Why would I? To ruin an important scene for both of us? That is not what acting together means. And if you recollect, on discovering what I’d done, I apologised and took every precaution – sprays, pills, etc.

NO, GEORGE, I was not, as you said, guzzling champagne in some warm bar when we had the row. I was attempting to back the Cougar car on a very icy road. You were telling me what to do - and since you know more about cars than I, you had every right.

But the manner of telling me - abusively with threats to “Bash my ---- face in” - was hardly the best way. I felt ill, unable to fight back on that level - and I cried.

Later, some weeks later, you apologised. But the damage was done.

Neither do I think it was entirely truthful of you to suggest I was keeping the crew waiting. This was your particular pleasure and it is to their everlasting credit that they treated you throughout with patience and consideration.

Even the cameramen took it in his stride when, after only a few weeks of filming, you began telling him what to do. He was a gentleman – remember George?

Yes, I did talk to the crew rather than you. Quite simply I preferred their company. And as to Peter Hunt, the director, not once did he lose his temper under the constant provocation of your storming off the set, turning up late and sulking.

As far as money is concerned, George, let’s face it: £22,000 for your first film – with perks thrown in – cannot be a hardship. Few would consider it so.

And concerning your relations with the producers, I know little except that they found it impossible to meet your demands for more money, bigger chauffeur-driven cars, grander apartments, etc.

I do know, too, that the producers are both men capable of generosity, and I was present on one occasion when “Cubby” Broccoli spontaneously gave you - off his wrist - a gold watch you had admired.

It is against all my principles and beliefs in the work we as actors do to fight at all – let alone openly and crudely as you have been doing.

However, your injustices and blatant distortions to the Press have finally forced me to speak.

It is all in the past now, George. The people concerned have been prepared to forget – why can’t you?

I’ll say no more.

Yours faithfully,

Diana Rigg

49, Eaton Square, SW1

Dearest Diana,

I cannot understand what you have written, but I am trying to answer it in the most honest way.

I have dwelt on my “petty” grievances because they may have been petty to you at the time because you have been in the business for 15 years. But I am just a beginner.

My grievances and my “paranoid statements to the Press,” as you put it, are all part of somebody trying desperately to co-operate and become a good actor. I am, as you know, a raw recruit to show business.

We all make mistakes, and I know I’ve made mine, as there are in every film. And that includes my dresser. But at the end of the film we’re all good mates.

The chauffeurs? The one I had in London, Ernie Freeman, I took to Portugal to film. Because he was a stranger there he stayed as my guest more than anything. My second chauffeur was a bullfighter who drove like a lunatic. And, if I die young I’d rather drive myself.

The third chauffeur was not outside a restaurant one night. A girl friend and I left and found no car, but there was a rowdy mob of fishermen sending me up as James Bond.

The only thing I could do was to walk into the centre of them, rather than let them descend on me. What would you do, darling, if you left with your boy friend, Philip Saville, and found a jeering mob and no car?

I was frightened, to be honest, and I shook the ringleader’s hand. Then the car arrived. I took the tension out on the chauffeur and that was wrong, I admit. But he won, because I walked home.

I don’t remember any outburst worth speaking of that would get someone uptight enough to want to have a go. I’m sure we had slight disagreements, but they are past and forgotten.

I never said you had garlic on purpose, although it was unfortunate you did. Darling, I’ve seen you drink champagne for breakfast. I have it, too, but it’s not exactly my scene. Give me apple juice any day.

OK, so I said things about your driving but you don’t think I was right.

The film crew I respected. If I can always get a crew like that I will be very happy. They kept me from going insane.

The cameraman I could go on and on about. A great guy, Michael Reed. He was a gentleman.

You will laugh, Diana about the money scene. But I would have accepted nothing for the part because I wanted to become an actor. It was the greatest screen test of all times.

The watch!! I admired Cubby’s watch at the Variety Club Ball, and Cubby said he would get me one.

Anyway, another actor had bought one and I mentioned that Cubby was going to give me one. And, two hours later Cubby, being the generous man that he is, handed his over.

Obviously the word went down the line. I was very embarrassed and tried to give it back but he insisted that his wife wanted me to have it.

I am sorry you brought that up. But what knocks me out the most is that you said it was against your principles and beliefs to bring other people into a fight.

I am sorry it worked out this way, but there is a statement that a bigger man than I am has made recently. He puts it in a nutshell: “War is over if you want it.”

Peace.

George

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

I thought this interesting when I first heard about it, it was originally published in the Daily Mail, so how much has been embelished on we do not know.

anyone got any more infomation on this?

Last edited by Solaris (14th Mar 2007 22:11)

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Interesting read, Actonsteve. Thanks for posting it. I didn't realize at the time that the squabbling was so public.

Personally, I'd have been bummed if Mrs. Peel was mad at me and would have been on my best behavior ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Wow, I'd never realised things were THIS bad. I do get the impression George Lazenby acted like a primadonna on the set of OHMSS and beyond- the documentary on the DVD has many more unfortunate tales such as this, whereas many have praised Diana Rigg on the set(Peter Hunt especially). He at least admits these days he made grave errors.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

I can't believe that Diana Rigg published her address!  ajb007/amazed No celebrity would do that now.  Changed days.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Steed wrote:

Wow, I'd never realised things were THIS bad. I do get the impression George Lazenby acted like a primadonna on the set of OHMSS and beyond- the documentary on the DVD has many more unfortunate tales such as this, whereas many have praised Diana Rigg on the set(Peter Hunt especially). He at least admits these days he made grave errors.

I was really surprised those stories, especially the one about the party that I think Mrs. Broccoli may have told, made it onto the DVD. That says to me there are still some hard feelings out there, at least in the Eon camp.

Last edited by highhopes (15th Mar 2007 00:49)

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

All I can add is that I have an original newspaper cutting from page 8 of the Daily Sketch (not the Mail or Mirror as suggested) dated Wednesday January 14 1970.

After having a quick read they both (quote above and cutting) appear to be the same, including "It began with a devestating open letter...." which makes me think that the person that originally posted this on the IMDB board didn't have the top of the page when he quoted the contents.

The other cutting (both by Douglas Marlborough) from the same newspaper, presumably from page 1 - sorry, I don't have the wherewithal to post a copy, therefore I'll have to type it (verbatim) long-hand:

RIGG V LAZENBY

007 STARS FIGHT OUT AMAZING ROW IN PUBLIC

An astonishing public row broke out last night between the new James Bond, George Lazenby, and his co-star Diana Rigg.
Miss Rigg sent the 30-year-old former model a letter attacking him for persisting in "dwelling on petty grievances" in his first film role.
She added: "By the end of the film, most of the crew were hostile but only because of your extreme behaviour."
The 6ft. 2in. Australian actor later sat by candlelight in his luxury five-bedroom, three-bathroomed Belgravia flat and wrote a six- page reply.
He said: "I am, as you know, a raw recruit to showbusiness.  We all make mistakes and I've made mine."
He sent the letter by car to 27-year-old Miss Rigg's home in Finchley-road, London
Mr. Lazenby, who did the "Big Fry" TV commercials, revealed they were not on speaking terms when they were "married" in the new 007 film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
"We just did not hit it off," he said.
"She knew what it was all about.  I was a beginner and my naiveness to her was pettiness.
"I've nothing against her.  She's a nice girl underneath it all."

The Letters In Full - Page 8


The front(?) page piece included a picture of George (with beard) writing by candlelight and a stock picture if Diana.

I was working in WH Smiths at the time and this is the only cutting I have, so assume that it didn't make the other papers.  I can find no follow-up in my scrap books.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Amazing that EON still wanted to sign him to a 7 picture deal, after the brutal shoot that was OHMSS.  Then again, Connery had his moments, back in the day, I suppose EON thought it was par for the course and hopefully it'd get better over time.  I wonder if Moore's easy-going professionalism helped to secure the role for him?  And, what with UA's interference with the DAF casting on top of their historic lead actor woes, put Cubby in mind to hang onto a good thing (Moore) for as long as humanly possible...even past the obvious sell-by date?  Like with everything bad about 60s pop culture, I blame Bob Dylan.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

highhopes wrote:

Personally, I'd have been bummed if Mrs. Peel was mad at me and would have been on my best behavior ajb007/biggrin

Me too. After the way she throws guys over her shoulder, I would not want to mess with her at all. ajb007/biggrin

blueman wrote:

Like with everything bad about 60s pop culture, I blame Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan? ajb007/confused I know you don't like Glenn and the 80's but what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

"He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. and then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory." Death of a Salesman

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Dan Same wrote:
blueman wrote:

Like with everything bad about 60s pop culture, I blame Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan? ajb007/confused I know you don't like Glenn and the 80's but what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

Ah...makes you think, doesn't it?

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Fish1941 wrote:

This must have happened after Lazenby had decided that he didn't want to continue playing Bond.  I suspect that EON Productions were upset over his decision . . . and have been blasting him ever since - including Desmond Llewellyn and Lois Maxwell.  What is remarkable is that they have not forgiven him, despite the fact that Lazenby has admitted for over the past twenty years that he had made a mistake.

The above exchange between Rigg and Lazenby seem to indicate that Rigg was upset over Lazenby's decision and was blasting him for allowing the bad feeling that had developed between him and the Bond crew to affect his decision.

I'm not convinced of this. If even Desmond Llewellyn and Lois Maxwell wernt happy then something was definitely wrong. It seems the bad feeling was well underway during filming.

What I find interesting is Diana Riggs letter. I think she recognises that he was a rookie and she tries to be sympathetic but too much has happened for her to forgive him. The business with the chaffeurs was unbelievable. What did he think he was doing!

I now know why the maxim "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" applies to Mr Lazenby...

Last edited by actonsteve (15th Mar 2007 21:00)

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Dan Same wrote:

what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

11 songs done for next CD- one being discarded- now the mixing & mastering begins.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

blueman wrote:
Dan Same wrote:
blueman wrote:

Like with everything bad about 60s pop culture, I blame Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan? ajb007/confused I know you don't like Glenn and the 80's but what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

Ah...makes you think, doesn't it?

Ill echo Dan's comments..Dylan?

It's a shame things didnt work out between Lazenby and Rigg, but one of them went onto have a knighthood (or damehood) and the other went on to talk about his one big movie.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Barbel wrote:
Dan Same wrote:

what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

The answer, my friend, is Lay Lady Lay. ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Moore Not Less wrote:
Barbel wrote:
Dan Same wrote:

what does Bob Dylan have to do with Bond?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

The answer, my friend, is Lay Lady Lay. ajb007/biggrin

ajb007/lol But of course!

11 songs done for next CD- one being discarded- now the mixing & mastering begins.

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Re: Diana Riggs letter to George Lazeny

Thanks for sharing!  That was great!