1985: Gay Aussie was almost James Bond

james bond antony hamilton

In 1985, producer Cubby Broccoli considered gay Aussie actor Antony Hamilton for the already iconic role of James Bond 007.

Born in England and orphaned at just two weeks old, Antony Hamilton was adopted by an Australian Squadron commander and his English wife. Antony grew up on a sheep station in South Australia. He attended Scotch College in Adelaide from the age of 10 and studied ballet along with playing AFL and other sports.

(Sir Robert Helpmann also grew up in rural South Australia and went to school in Adelaide. Something in the water!)

Antony Hamilton told the Associated Press in 1984 that he never copped too much teasing over his ballet studies. After all, he was also a ‘brawny football hero’.

Antony accepted a scholarship to the Australian Ballet School at 15. He then toured Europe and the Soviet Union for two years with the Australian Ballet. But at 21, he quit dance to become a model.

“Dancing was too confining and regimented for me… I became a model not because I was interested in fashion or styles, but because I knew it was a good way to see the world… It gave me independence… The money was good too.”

Although a highly successful model, Antony took acting classes to expand his career.

In 1984, he played Samson in the television film Samson and Delilah. The same year, he took over the lead role in the popular crime series Cover Up after the previous star died in an onset accident. However, the series struggled to recover from Jon-Erik Hexum’s death. After CBS cancelled the series, Antony came under consideration for one of the most iconic roles in film history.

“You always were a cunning linguist, James.”

Roger Moore was 57 years old when A View To A Kill was released in 1985 and he’d been playing Bond for 12 years. Critics thought he looked past it in the action sequences and ridiculous in the romantic scenes. Moore himself noted he was older than his leading lady’s mother.

Moore was only the third Bond. Sean Connery originated the role. He was followed for one movie by the charmless and untalented Aussie yobo George Lazenby.

By 1985, Bond producer Cubby Broccoli needed a Bond who could compete with action stars like Mel Gibson as Mad Max and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. He considered two actors from Down Under — Sam Neill and Antony Hamilton.

Tall, muscular and possessed of the most delightful chin dimple, Antony was a front-runner. Except for two things. Could a blond, gay man convince audiences he was the world’s most cunning linguist?

007 was as much a ladies’ man as he was a spy and Antony was, at least privately, an out gay man. He went to gay clubs and patronised sex-on-premise venues. His list of boyfriends included men like Kelly Cole, son of the late singer Nat King Cole. (James Bond in an interracial, gay relationship? That’ll leave fans shaken, if not stirred!)

After People Magazine reported that Antony was in talks with Broccoli about replacing Moore, the Bond producer decided not to risk it. News of Rock Hudson’s AIDS diagnosis had just broken and the movie industry remained a homophobic cesspool where someone would undoubtedly out a gay Bond.

Besides, a blond Bond? Apparently, dark hair was considered a prerequisite for the role before Daniel Craig took over.

Antony went on to act in a couple of movies and several TV shows before succumbing to HIV in 1992 at the age of just 42. His family requested donations in his name to the LA AIDS Project.

Sheena Easton – Swear with male dancer, Antony Hamilton.

24 Dec 1984, Mon The Post-Star (Glens Falls, New York) Newspapers.com

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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