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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 18, 1983
- Vol. 20
- No. 3
How Sleeping with Superspy James Bond Shaped the Lives of the Actresses Who Played Big-Screen Femme Fatales
For 21 years in 15 films, agent 007 in his many incarnations—Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby and David Niven—has collected an enviable bevy. His women go by names ripe with double and triple entendres: Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead, Plenty O'Toole, Octopussy. Their wardrobes consist of little more than bikinis and towels. They're all suckers for Bond's charms, bedding down with him in whatever's handy—a haystack, a speedboat, even a space shuttle.
But they've changed over the years; the Bond girl is now the Bond woman. The first, Ursula Andress in Dr. No, picked up seashells for a living. The latest, Maud Adams in Octopussy, is a criminal mastermind. They look different, too. "We don't have those bosoms bouncing around anymore," said Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, the producer of 13 Bonds. "There just aren't many busty girls going into films today."
Feminists have decried the women in Bond-age. Raquel Welch, Catherine Deneuve and Faye Dunaway are among those who've turned down Bond roles. Roger Moore has an explanation. A decade ago he declared: "Bond, like myself, is a male chauvinist pig. All my life I've been trying to get women out of brassieres and pants." Years later he acknowledged that things were changing—the Bond women "are perpendicular instead of horizontal," he said. But in their new roles they rarely succeed in upstaging Moore. "Can you imagine," he says. "The bloody cheek." Moore is 55 now, Connery is 52 (and wears a toupee). They're staid family men—Connery married for eight years to French painter Micheline Roquebrune, 47, Moore for 14 years to Luisa Mattioli, 47. Both have grown children. As Carole Bouquet, the then 23-year-old co-star of 1981's For Your Eyes Only, said of Moore: "He's very nice. He reminds me of my father." Age is taking its toll.
Bond himself is, of course, ageless. He was born when British journalist Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale in 1953. The superspy appeared next a year later in a TV version of Casino starring Barry Nelson (it was remade as a spoof movie starring Niven in 1967). Bond came to the big screen in 1962, when Connery did battle with the notorious Dr. No (a role Noël Coward turned down with a telegram that read, "No, no, no"). Fleming had wanted James Stewart or Richard Burton to play Bond. Instead, he got Connery for seven flicks, Lazenby and Niven for one each, and Moore for six. Now there are two Bonds battling for attention at once: Moore in the just-released Octopussy and Connery in this fall's Never Say Never Again. Their movies have made enough money to make Goldfinger jealous, grossing more than a half billion. Why do the millions keep flocking to 007's exploits? "No offense to Roger Moore," says Adams. It's not the gadgets—"it's the girls."
Octopussy & Never Say Never Again (1983)
You don't expect to see Octopussy walking down the aisle at your local supermarket," understates Maud Adams (above). When she heard that name, Adams admits, "I was quite shocked." But Octopussy (a name inspired by a pet mollusk) has "a business empire of her own," Adams says proudly. She also helps Bond foil a crazy Commie's plot to nuke West Germany in this just-released Bondanza.
Swedish-born Adams, 37, is the first Bond woman to twice get her tentacles into Roger Moore. In 1974, she played The Man With the Golden Gun's sweetheart. It was her breakthrough from modeling into acting. Since then she's appeared in Tattoo and Rollerball and the TV drama Playing for Time. Adams admits that her return to Bond is "not going to win me any acting merits." She made it for commercial success—and the chance to go on location to India with her offscreen roomie, L.A. plastic surgeon Steven Zax.
Proving that old spies never die, they just make sequels, Sean Connery is returning after 12 years as Bond in Never Say Never Again (a title based on Connery's vow after his last Bond movie: "Never again"). His amour in this tale, also about nuclear threat, is Kim Basinger (left), 31, an aspiring songwriter, an actress (she played in TV's From Here to Eternity) and a former Revlon model (who posed naked in February's Playboy). She was touted to Connery by none other than his wife, who spotted Kim in a hotel lobby and declared her perfect.
On Dallas, Texas-born Lois Chiles plays the "female J.R." Holly Harwood, a tough oilwoman who tumbles J.R. into bed. In Moonraker, she played Holly Goodhead, an astronaut and CIA agent—"Bond's concession to women's lib"—who tumbled through space with Roger Moore and finally into the sack with him too. But she was not the usual pushover. Holly bedded Bond only after he saved her life. "Remind me to do it more often," James smirked. Chiles, 36, says the part was not what she had feared: "a one-dimensional dingbat." Instead, "There is an equal kind of thing between Bond and myself," says Chiles. "I'm not a sex kitten." Even so, Holly's name raised eyebrows. "I thought that name was kind of a compliment," Chiles says, grinning. "I think my parents thought it meant I was kind of smart."
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
She may just be the most beautiful woman to ever enter the Bondian universe," hailed curmudgeon critic John Simon of Barbara Bach. Moore was a bit disappointed. He had hoped his BB co-star would be Bardot. Bach, now 33, came to Bond after a string of spaghetti Westerns, and went on to Caveman. Not much of a movie, but she did hit it off with her co-star, Ringo Starr. They married in 1981. Now Bach is "thinking about getting back into movies." She and Ringo play a gay married couple in NBC's miniseries Princess Daisy, due in November. That, says Barbara, is better than Bond, "a chauvinist pig who uses girls to shield him against bullets."
Live and Let Die (1973)
I was the only Bond girl who was accidental," says Jane Seymour, the stunning Solitaire in Roger Moore's first Bond movie, Live and Let Die. When the producers called her agent about the part, Seymour was "not interested." Period. But they called twice, and "I had no money and only one good coat," so she decided to talk to them. She was cast immediately. "I felt like part of the secretary pool," Seymour, 32, moans. But she took the job anyway. "I did all the stunt things—I was 21 then and didn't know any better," she says. "I was on the bus that went under the bridge and had its top sliced off. I was the twit sitting in the back." Moore nicknamed her Baby Bernhardt "because I thought it was an important acting role." It wasn't. But Seymour (now married to her business manager, David Flynn, and the mother of a 17-month-old girl, Katherine) went on to prove that she could act, in Broadway's Amadeus and on TV's East of Eden, for which she won an Emmy. She's now filming Lassiter, playing the girlfriend of jewel thief Tom Selleck, and she may soon make Mata Hari for TV. Another Bond in her future? "Never again," says Jane. "I've spent my life living down that part."
The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
Britt Ekland admits it: "To do a Bond film had been a dream for me. It was the most glamorous and exciting time I have ever had on a movie." For Bond women, Britt concedes, "It does not make any difference whether you are a good actress." As Mary Goodnight, she traveled to Thailand with son Nicholai, by director Lou Adler, and daughter Victoria, by Peter Sellers. After Bond, she became famous for her fling with Rod Stewart and her tell-all tome, True Britt. Now 40, she is planning to wed rocker Slim Jim Phantom (19 years younger) and writing Britt Ekland's Book of Sensual Beauty—making her Bond role seem tame. "There is nothing pornographic in Bond movies," she declares. "You can't even show your breasts."
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
It's not easy being a Bond woman. "You have to stay in shape when you're in a bikini all those months," laughs Jill St. John, 42 (above, as Tiffany Case). But she gushes: "Boy, it was fun making that movie." She soon went into semiretirement in Aspen but came back to L.A. in 1981 and started dating Robert Wagner after Natalie Wood died. By coincidence, one of Jill's Diamonds co-stars was Natalie's sister, Lana (far left, then; left, today), who called herself Plenty O'Toole. Bond agreed. Lana, 37, is starring now in CBS' soap Capitol; Diamonds wasn't easy for her either. "In the film," Jill recalls, "she got thrown out a window and ended up dead in my swimming pool."
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
This is the odd one, the only bomb of a Bond ever made, the one that didn't star Connery or Moore but George Lazenby, then age 29, an Australian model never heard from before (or since). It's the movie in which James Bond did more than love 'em and leave 'em—he got married, to Contessa Teresa Vicenzo, Tracy to her husband, Diana Rigg to the world. It was not a match made in heaven. Onscreen, Tracy was killed in her honeymoon car (below). Lazenby lovingly cradled Rigg—a bullet hole in her forehead—as the end credits rolled. Offscreen, Lazenby described Diana in less affectionate terms: "We hate each other's guts." He accused her of eating garlic before their big love scene. Rigg, aghast at his boorish remarks, explained that she took the part to sex up her image. "At the end of all that pulchritude, there's me," she said. "And, let's face it, I'm not exactly all teeth and tits, am I?" She also hoped the role would "make me better known in America." It didn't quite do the job. But Rigg has not suffered. She is the contessa of the English stage. Before Bond, she had starred in The Avengers (replacing Honor Blackman in 1965). After Bond, she joined the National Theatre, where Laurence Olivier called her "a brilliantly skilled and delicious actress." Rigg (who last year married former Guards officer Archie Stirling, the father of their 6-year-old, Rachael) has had a string of hits. Her latest was Shaw's Heartbreak House (bottom right). Her character's name was pure Bond: Hessy Hushabye.
From Russia With Love (1963)
Who says that Bond women are hired because of their measurements? Lotte Lenya certainly wasn't. The legendary Austrian actress played the hideous Col. Rosa Klebb, a Soviet bear who moonlighted with the evil SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counterespionage, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). She sent her prettiest Russian agent (Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova) after Bond, but when they ended up in flagrante détente, the lesbian Klebb went after James himself, masquerading as a hotel maid wearing a pair of killer clodhoppers—a shoe with a poisonous spike at the toe. Bond punted Klebb into life's end zone and then eulogized: "She's had her kicks." Lenya died two years ago at age 83 after devoting much of her life to preserving the musical works of her late husband, Kurt (The Threepenny Opera) Weill.
Bond wakes up in a jet, faced with an armed and beautiful pilot. She introduces herself: "My name is Pussy Galore." He sighs and says: "I must be dreaming." But she warns him: "You can turn off your charm. I'm immune." Honor Blackman (below left, as she is today at 56) is an English actress and karate pro (a skill she learned on TV's The Avengers). She doesn't want to be remembered as Pussy (right); she doesn't even like to talk about it. At the time, she liked the movie. "Sean Connery is a dish," she gushed. But like so many of the Bond women, Blackman suffered stagnation after Goldfinger. Apart from a recent stage revival of The Sound of Music in London, she has been relegated to minor TV roles. The same problem seems to have afflicted Shirley Eaton, 46, the most precious of the Bond women, the one who died of "skin suffocation" from being painted gold (above). "It's been the most publicized role I've ever played," said Eaton, who now lives quietly in the country with her husband of 26 years, Colin Lenton-Rome, and their two sons.
Dr. No (1962)
James Bond's first leading lady, Ursula Andress, came out of the sea, a siren singing (in a dubbed voice) "Underneath dee mango tree..." She was wearing a tiny, tacky bikini (one that Ursula and a girlfriend had sewn themselves). "Are you looking for shells?" she asked Bond. "No," he said, eyes ablaze, "just looking." Her character, Honey, was hardly a marine biologist or Rhodes scholar, but smart enough to get attention. With that one scene the Bond woman was born, and with it also Ursula's career.
It was her first American film. The Swiss actress, now 47, had been brought to Hollywood by Paramount in 1955 and let go because "I misbehaved so badly. I used to insult diction teachers." Then she got the script for Dr. No. "Kirk Douglas and everybody came over for my birthday," she remembers. "We were all laughing while we were reading the script, because we thought nothing could be worse. I figured no one would ever see it, so I might as well try it."
The filming was enjoyable, if not profitable (Ursula made $12,000), with then hubby John Derek visiting the Jamaican location. "I got up every day at 5 a.m. for body makeup," Ursula recalls. "There I am, completely nude in this Jamaican cottage—open windows all around. Busboys would come in with one breakfast after another. One day we had 30 trays. Sean had to jump between all the trays on the floor."
Unlike the Bond women who would follow, for Ursula the role was a launching pad. Andress went on to Fun in Acapulco with Elvis Presley, What's New Pussycat? and the Bond spoof, Casino Royale. She and Derek split in 1965; then she lived with Jean-Paul Belmondo for seven years, followed by a four-year relationship with actor Harry (Making Love) Hamlin, the father of their son, Dimitri, 3. Hamlin walked out on her recently. Andress misses him but not the movies; she quit films in 1979 to raise her child.
- Suzanne Adelson,
- Malcolm Boyes,
- Jerene Jones,
- Cable Neuhaus,
- David Wallace.
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