The National Examiner is an American supermarket tabloid, often derided for its sensationalistic writing and for the veracity of its content (or lack there of), so don't assume that anything that follows is necessarily true.
I was rather surprised to see James Bond on the cover of this magazine at my local grocery store last September because by then, all the hoopla that had surrounded the 50th anniversary and the release of Skyfall had been over for about nine months.
The rather trashy headline implies that we will read about how tragic the lives of the aging James Bond stars have become, or how they are all about to die horrible deaths but if you actually take the time to read the article you will discover that on the whole, the fact is these folks are aging just like everyone else and suffering from the same sorts of problems and maladies as anybody else their age. Given that the target audience of this publication is a little older than other tabloids like the National Enquirer, perhaps its readership found this reassuring.
Ultimately though, the only sadness to be found here is the reminder that some of our favorite James Bond actors and actresses are actually getting quite old...
SAD LAST DAYS of the JAMES BOND STARS
TIME has been an invincible villain for our favorite James Bond movie heroes and heroines. Each actor has been forced to deal with their own mortality, whether from illness or self-destructive behavior.
by Eva Fellows
Sean Connery is plagued with memory Problems
NO ONE has ever bested the original James Bond at delivering those devilishly clever super-spy one-liners.
But these days, the 83-year-old can’t count on remembering his lines or many other things. He depends upon the recall of his longtime wife, French painter Micheline Roquebrune, 77, calling her whenever he forgets a vital fact, which can be several times a day.
“Micheline is my memory,” admits the aging Scottish actor, who appeared feeble while speaking at one public appearance during which Micheline had to prompt him and correct him.
Once a strapping Mr. Universe contestant, the former 007 looks like an exhausted shadow of his former heroic self, severely under-weight, with scraggily white hair and beard. In May 2012, he showed up in New York City to support a Scottish university — but he refused to give interviews.
The Publicity stunt caught observers by surprise because the actor stated in April 2011 that he was done with public appearances. Just eight months earlier, he declared that he had quit acting. Both announcements came after decades of increasing concerns about his health, especially after he repeatedly bowed out of charity events and awards shows at the last minute.
The actor’s medical woes include a heart condition and recurring nodules on his vocal cords, which required radiation therapy. Surgeons have also re-moved a kidney tumor as well as cataracts from both eyes. And he suffered a chipped arm bone after losing his balance and taking a tumble. Despite doctors’ Orders, he refuses to give up red wines, saying: “There’s evidence they’re good for your health.”
Photo: Sean Connery seems only a shadow of his former super-spy self as James Bond, (above right)
Photo: Roger Moore today (above) and in his heyday (top right)
Roger Moore endured a terrifying brush with death
Like his most famous character, the third James Bond is a real survivor.
“It’s amazing that he’s still around at all,” says an insider. “These days his gait is a little unsteady, and his speech is not quite as crystal clear.”
After weathering severe jaundice and double pneumonia as a child, an array of medical maladies — including shingles and appendicitis — have gradually taken their toll on the 85-year-old English actor, who played the spy as an upper-crust dandy with a mean streak.
Even rumored plastic surgery hasn’t been able to preserve his pretty-boy looks.
In the ’60s, the actor endured three major surgeries to remove kidney stones.
“I was opened up on both sides and have large scars,” says Moore. “The pain was excruciating.”
In the ’90s, he went under the knife again after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The brush with death “changed the way I look at life,” he says.
In 2003, he collapsed on stage while performing a Broadway play. “I heard a bang, which was my head hitting the stage as I fell head first,” he recalls. Rushed to a hospital, doctors determined that his heart rate had dropped to 60 beats a minute. “I was told I could die at any moment,” he says, “and that I must have a lifesaving cardiac pacemaker inserted the very next day.”
Jill St John struggles with emotional pain
THE 73-year-old Diamonds Are Forever beauty (right) endures physical and emotional pain that might have killed a lesser woman.
The actress, who has been married to Robert Wagner, 83, since May 1990, fractured her hip and pelvis in a 2005 skiing accident, leading doctors to insert a supporting rod in her back.
Meanwhile, she’s desperately trying to hold her family together through one shocking scandal after another. In November 2011, officials reinvestigated the mysterious 1981 death of Wagner’s first wife Natalie Wood. The coroner even changed Wood’s cause of death from “accidental” to “unknown,” leading many to believe the widower knows more than he’s telling.
Reportedly shaken by the allegations, Courtney Wagner (inset), the 39-year-old daugh-ter of Robert and Natalie, spiraled out of control, getting busted for heroin and cocaine possession.
Photo: Jill St. John and husband Robert Wagner
George Lazenby drinking himself to death?
Photo: George Lazenby went from spy to lush
The former Australian commando, who tums 74 on September 9, only played 007 once, in the 1969 flick On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which co-starred The Avengers babe Diana Rigg.
But he allowed himself to get swept up in the hippie culture of the ’60s. At one point, he allegedly went broke to pay for his drug and alcohol cravings and had to move in with his mother.
These days, the former male model reportedly seems bent on drinking himself to death, and the boozing has aged him well beyond his years.
Reportedly a mean drunk, the second James Bond allegedly sabotaged both his marriages — to Publishing heiress Christina Gannett and to former tennis star Pam Shriver — with alcohol-fueled rages and violence.
He denies his ex’s accusations, but he still looks as if he’s been shaken and stirred.
Ursula Andress has crippling osteoporosis
The statuesque Swiss-born bombshell appeared indestructible as her curvaceous, muscular, bikini-clad body emerged from the surf in 1962’s Dr. No. Today, the 77-year-old Bond girl’s body has betrayed her.
She suffers from such a severe case of osteoporosis that her bones could shatter like glass at any moment. Diagnosed in 2000, the actress foolishly ignored her doctors’ Orders to take medication, preferring to eat calcium-rich foods. Then in 2008, she recalls: “The doctor scared me a lot. He said unless I took my medicine, I would definitely fracture my hip in the next few years. Even a stumble would be enough to make it happen.''
Rather than depend on the pills, the doctor prescribed a medication that can be administered once a year with a 15-minute in- fusion.
Photo: Ursula Andress has gone from bikini babe (left) to osteoporosis poster girl (right)
[Source: National Examiner, September 2, 2013 (vol. 50 No.35) P1, 29-20, 42. Copyright © 2013 American Media, Inc. All rights reserved.]