Rare pics from 1968 James Bond auditions: 4 who were almost 007

When Sean Connery stepped away from the Aston Martin and martinis, the producers of the James Bond franchise held a massive casting call. They saw almost 400 dudes of varied levels of ruggedness looking for their next 007. Though we know that George Lazenby got the license to kill, here are the four blokes who got oh-so-close.

Of the 400, these are the fellas that were Lazenby's runners-up: John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Robert Campbell and Hans de Vries. Lazenby quit the Bond franchise after just one movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service—apparently he thought the coming of the disco '70s and the rise of the counterculture would render the spy genre irrelevant.

For a lot more behind-the-auditions photos, and some choice trivia nuggets, head over to LIFE.

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