He committed his life to acting at the age of 16, joining the U.K. National Theater. In 1968, he played Phillip II of France in The Lion in Winter.
His Bond character was the last one to smoke cigarettes, though they have continued to drink martinis.
His father served in WWII as a Special Operations Executive and later worked as an advertising executive. He dated actress Vanessa Redgrave from 1971 to 1986 after co-starring with her in the film, Mary, Queen of Scots. He welcomed a son Alexander with singer and former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
He starred as James Bond in The Living Daylights, while Pierce Brosnan took over his Bond role in Goldeneye.