Welcome to my April A-Z! This month I will be posting about James Bond 007 every day except Sunday, mostly focusing on the movies, not the books. Enjoy!
Today the spotlight is on Ursula Andress, the first “Bond girl,” debuting in 1961’s Dr. No as Honey Rider. She’s an independent woman, making a living selling seashells after suffering an abusive past, and encounters Bond about halfway through the film. She helps Bond escape from baddies, saves herself and him too, rowing Bond to safety while he’s unconscious. Not exactly the usual image we have of 007 overpowering everyone himself and single-handedly saving the beautiful girl, right?
Ursula was born in Switzerland in 1936, and Dr. No was not her first movie ~ she was acting in Italian films during the 1950s. In 1955, she came to Hollywood to try her luck. Though Paramount signed her, she didn’t get any roles due to her inability to learn English, but she did end up marrying John Derek in 1957. Somehow (mystery), she was cast as Honey for the Bond flick and made history ~ she credits the white bikini, which was sold at auction in 2001 for around $40K. She even won a Golden Globe for new star of the year, though her lines were dubbed by Nikki van der Zyl (who dubbed Sylvia’s lines too, as well as many other female characters in later Bond films). Following her success as Honey, Ursula went on to star in other films as well as pose for Playboy.
In 1981, Ursula played Aphrodite in Clash of the Titans, where she met Harry Hamlin, the leading man. They ended up in a romance and had a son, Dimitri, her only child. Ursula now lives in Europe.
Tune in Monday for more A-Z Bond!
Information and images from Wikipedia and the Sydney Morning Herald.
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