They are pilots, casino trawlers, diamond smugglers, C.I.A. agents, astrophysicists, nuclear-weapons experts, cellists, tarot-card readers. They are Italian, American, Jamaican, British, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch.
Their names are legendary: Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole, Holly Goodhead, Mary Goodnight, Octopussy. They are, of course, Bond Girls — and, with few exceptions, they were a career path to nowhere by the actresses who played them.
Essentially, there are four Bond Girl types. Writer Bruce Feirstein (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough) once described them for Vanity Fair magazine: There’s the Angel with a Wing Down (an otherwise innocent woman connected to the villain), the Naïve Beauty (an innocent woman caught up in plot by accident), the Comrade in Arms (a competent woman with whom Bond reluctantly joins forces), and the Villainous Vixen (an insane, wicked woman whom Bond sleeps with). Bond generally saves them all from impossible danger, except for the Vixens.
There are Bond girls that were famous before they appeared in the movies, Diana Rigg in her On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Honor Blackman in Goldfinger had both achieved fame in TV series The Avengers. Then again there are a few Bond girls that became major stars on the back of appearing in the series, Ursula Andress and Jane Seymour especially.
Then there are those that simply never quite translated their Bond girl appearance into something more substantial.
Here then we take a look at some of those gorgeous girls who tickled James’s fancy but faded from view somewhat afterwards.
He: I admire your courage, Miss . . . ?
She: Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr…?
He (camera finds him, cigarette dangling from mouth): Bond. James Bond.
He, of course, is Sean Connery. But who is the mysterious Miss Trench? She was the gorgeous British actress Eunice Gayson, who had the honor of being the first-ever Bond Girl — and, a little later in the film, the first one to fetchingly sport one of James’ pyjama tops.
Also in Dr. No was a little-known Swiss blonde named Ursula Andress, who rose Venus-like from the sea in a white bikini as island girl Honey Ryder. (Bond Girls, by definition, get spectacular entrances.) Gayson and Andress started it all, cavorting half-clad with Bond in posh hotel rooms and chartered boats, demonstrating impeccable grooming, infinite trust in 007’s ability to handle perilous situations, and cool sexiness. Eunice essentially ended her movie career with her Bond appearance (although she did turn up in a few “Avengers” episodes.)
Consider the fate of Martine Beswick, one of the few Bond Girls to turn up twice (as Zora, From Russia With Love, 1963; and Paula Caplan, Thunderball, 1965), for whom the Bond gig appeared to be a quick road to nowhere. Within two years of Thunderball, she was headlining in the campy Prehistoric Women. Later credits included the role of Red Haired Lady in Devil Dog: The Hound from Hell and the title role in The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.
Maud Adams’ career seemed to have kicked off nicely when she co-starred as vixen Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974, and she returned to the Bond harem as the titular Octopussy (1983) a mysterious smuggler who slinks around in a bathrobe for most of the film. Alas, it was downhill from there: She appeared in all sorts of straight-to-video dreck in the late ’80s and ’90s, including Angel 3: The Final Chapter and Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 — hey, she wasn’t even in the originals.
The first black Bond Girl, Gloria Hendry (the bikini-clad Rosie Carver, Live and Let Die, 1973), had some decent roles in blaxploitation films around the time of her Bond gig, but in the past twenty years has appeared in the straight-to-video Lookin’ Italian (somehow, as in Diggin’ Up Business, that dropped “g” says it all), a couple of TV movies, and the horror sequel Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.
Tanya Roberts and Lynn-Holly Johnson
Tanya Roberts, who parlayed a brief “Charlie’s Angels” stint into Bond Girl-dom (the wimpy geologist Stacey Sutton, A View to a Kill, 1985) spent the late ’80s and ’90s doing Almost Pregnant, Sins of Desire, Night Eyes, and various other straight-to-video fare. This is perhaps only fair, as she seems to have spent her entire Bond stint looking helpless and shrieking, “James!”
And let’s have a moment of silence for the career of perky blonde Lynn-Holly Johnson, known to former teenage girls everywhere as the star of the 1979 figure-skating weepie Ice Castles. After a stint as a purple-Lycra-clad Bond Girl on blades (Bibi Dahl, For Your Eyes Only, 1981), she went on to appear in Alien Predator, Diggin’ Up Business (opposite Billy Barty and Ruth Buzzi) and the female Mad Max knockoff The Sisterhood.