In the early 1960s, movie producers adapting Ian Fleming’s novels about a suave British spy named James Bond plucked a relative unknown, Sean Connery, from obscurity and offered him the role of a lifetime. And when Connery left the franchise after five movies (although he would briefly be back, in 1971, in Diamonds Are Forever) the hunt for another Bond was on.
In 1967 LIFE sent photographer Loomis Dean to casting sessions for the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The magazine published a handful of those photos in an article on the film and on the Bond phenomenon. But some of Dean’s choicest frames — Bond wannabes suiting up, brandishing guns, sipping faux martinis, wooing women — never ran in the magazine. Here are the photos from those auditions, featuring the five top candidates — including George Lazenby, who would eventually win the coveted role
Check out more photos and background at LIFE.com