Just as vital to the success of the Bond movies as James himself is the Bond girl and in the sixties and seventies we were given some truly iconic performances by a succession of gorgeous movie stars. Here we pay tribute to five of the best of them.
(“Honey Ryder”, 1962’s Dr. No)
The quintessential Bond Girl, Ursula Andress cemented her place in movie history with her Venus-like emergence from the sea in the very first Bond film, Dr. No (1962). Her Swiss accent was too strong for the part, so her voice was dubbed over by English actress Monica Van der Syl. In the film, Bond discovers that Honey’s education has come from an encyclopedia she’s had since childhood: “I started at A when I was eight and now I’ve reached T. I’ll bet I know a lot more things than you do,” she tells Bond!
(“Pussy Galore”, 1964’s Goldfinger)
In the film, Pussy tells Bond: “You can turn off the charm. I’m immune,” a line which indirectly alludes to the fact that in the 1959 Fleming novel, Pussy’s character is a lesbian. But after having her sexual orientation changed and her role slightly beefed up, Pussy was ready for the screen, where she gave Bond almost more than he could handle. A memorable “romp in the hay” with him (literally!) is one of the film’s highlights. Honor Blackman had previously played Cathy Gale in the popular TV series “The Avengers.”
JILL ST. JOHN
(“Tiffany Case”, 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever)
Tiffany Case (St. John) was the first American Bond Girl, whose name was the result of her character being born on the first floor of Tiffany’s jewelry store while her mother was looking for a wedding ring! “I’m glad for your sake it wasn’t Van Cleef and Arpels,” Bond quips. St. John’s post-Bond resume included half-a-dozen TV films, while her screen work gradually subsided.
(“Solitaire”, 1973’s Live and Let Die)
Best known for her prolific television work, Jane Seymour barely had a couple of film credits under her belt when she was cast as the enigmatic sorceress Solitaire opposite Roger Moore in his James Bond debut. A firm believer in magic, Solitaire fell victim to one of Bond’s cruelest pranks: he stacked one of her Tarot decks so the cards would say they would become lovers. At the film’s conclusion, Solitaire is seen dabbling in a different kind of card-play: she is beating Bond in a game of Gin Rummy!
(“Anya Amasova”, 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me)
Barbara Bach’s Major Anya Amasova (a Russian agent with the suggestive code-name “XXX”) was one of the few women who could truly meet Bond on his own terms. Often beating him to the punch, she proved a valuable partner once the two agents joined forces — and almost as deadly an adversary once they became enemies! Of course, no real Bond Girl can stay mad at 007 for too long, and their “reconciliation” in front of their superiors provided an amusing end to the film. Bach is married to Beatle Ringo Starr.