Why did Sean Connery return to the role of James Bond after George Lazenby’s run in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? After all, he had fought with the producers over the years and was trying to establish himself as someone who could do non-Bond jobs. Plus, actor John Gavin — who had appeared in Psycho, Spartacus and a spy-sploitation movie called OSS 117 – Double Agent — was all set to play Bond. But Gavin, a lesser-known American, didn’t fly with the president of United Artists.
We can’t know for sure what convinced Connery to do Diamonds Are Forever, but we can guess: Connery’s sweetheart deal included back-end percentages (12.5% of gross), a bonus if the shoot went longer than scheduled, contractual freedom from having to even talk to the producers with whom he was feuding, a contract from U.A. for two nonfranchise movies that he would choose and a salary so big it made the Guinness World Records. It seems small today, but his $1.25 million-dollar paycheck was massive for the time. Connery went on to donate that money to the Scottish International Education Trust, a charity he founded.