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.
Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess
What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.
Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.
Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.
Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.
Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?
Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.
Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife
Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.
Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.
Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.
Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.
What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.
Famous guest stars?
The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.
Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.
Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.
Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.
The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.
Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.
Classic TV Revisited: The Royal
The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.
The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.
Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.
Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.
Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”
A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.
First broadcast: 2003
Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden
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