Clint Eastwood Passed on a Huge Salary on One Sean Connery Film

by Caitlin Berard

Hollywood is an incredibly elite club. Though millions aspire to one day see themselves on the big screen, only 2% make a living as an actor. And within that tiny percentage, there’s an infinitesimally small group of which only a few actors in Hollywood history have ever become a part – those who have earned the role of James Bond.

The very first 007 film premiered in 1962, with Sean Connery as the iconic secret agent. Since then, only six other actors have held the prestigious role: David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

There was almost an eighth name added to the list, but the legendary actor turned it down. And that actor is none other than the Man With No Name himself, Clint Eastwood.

In 1967, Sean Connery starred in You Only Live Twice, after which he departed from the franchise. The film marked his fifth appearance as James Bond and the actor was ready for new challenges. Sean Connery left amicably (and would later return for two more 007 films), and the producers began their search for the newest Bond.

The billion-dollar character James Bond is a fearless, smooth-talking lady’s man known for his collection of fast cars, powerful guns, high-tech gadgets, and, of course, the “Bond girls,” the agent’s never-ending string of love interests.

As such, filmmakers at the time believed there was no better pick for the character than the epitome of masculinity, Clint Eastwood, who was fresh from his run as the Man With No Name in the Dollars Trilogy. Clint Eastwood, however, disagreed.

Clint Eastwood Turned Down a Major Payday

Make no mistake, when Clint Eastwood was approached to play James Bond, he was already well on his way to becoming a Hollywood icon. However, spaghetti Westerns didn’t pay all that well. The iconic actor made just above $300,000 for the entirety of the Dollars Trilogy, and $250,000 of that came with the final installment.

Meanwhile, Sean Connery was making $1 million for his starring role in You Only Live Twice, which translates to almost $9 million in today’s dollars.

But for Clint Eastwood, it wasn’t about the money. He simply didn’t feel right taking a part he believed belonged to Connery. “I was offered pretty good money to do James Bond if I would take on the role,” Eastwood explained to the LA Times (via

“This was after Sean Connery left. My lawyer represented the Broccolis [the Bond franchise producers]. And he came and said, ‘They would love to have you.'”

“But to me, well, that was somebody else’s gig,” he continued. “That’s Sean’s deal. It didn’t feel right for me to be doing it.”

In addition to his respect for Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood also felt that James Bond wasn’t quite the right fit. “I always liked characters that were more grounded in reality,” Eastwood said. “Maybe they do super things or more-than-human things… Like Dirty Harry, he has a knack for doing crazy things. Or the western guys… But still, they’re not caped crusaders.”