Ursula Andress walked from the sea in Dr No in 1962 and became the first of many beautiful women who found fame in James Bond films. Some of the Bond girls such as Andress and Honor Blackman stayed famous. For others, the films were but a fleeting moment of glory.
Here we report on 11 of Bond’s earliest lovelies.
1 – Claudine Auger
She was Miss France in her home country and Domino in Thunderball (1965). Claudine Auger’s film career was still in its infancy when she was the pick of 850 aspiring Bond beauties.
Claudine did not want to remain the “lady in a swimsuit” for the rest of her career, she said.
But she failed to achieve superstardom in films outside France. She was first married at the age of 17 and later married British businessman Peter Brent.
Claudine Auger Auger died in Paris on 18 December 2019 following a lengthy illness.
2 – Honor Blackman
Pussy Galore’s pursuit of Bond in Goldfinger (1964) was a direct result of Honor’s success as Cathy Gale in ITC TV show The Avengers. While she worked successfully after leaving The Avengers in 1964, she never quite made the same impact.
Honor found contentment raising her two adopted children and appearing semi-regularly in theatre and on television. She died at her home in Lewes, East Sussex, on 5 April 2020, aged 94, from natural causes.
3 – Martine Beswick
After scrapping and scratching as a wild gypsy in From Russia With Love (1963), Martine Beswick was rediscovered in time for Thunderball. But her character was killed off and, inevitably, life was never quite the same again.
Beswick went on to appear in One Million Years B.C. (1966) opposite Raquel Welch (with whom she also engaged in a catfight) and she then appeared in various Hammer Studio low-budget films, most notably the gender-bending Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), in which she played the titular villainess.
She owned a removals business in London for many years but is now semiretired except for her guest appearances at international Bond conventions.
4 – Eunice Gayson
When Eunice appeared as Sylvia Trench in Dr No (1962), the plan was that she would appear in subsequent Bond films as James’ love interest, and eventually become Mrs 007.
Alas, she made it no further than From Russia With Love (1963), after which her career seemed to falter.
Eunice passed away in London on 8 June 2018, aged 90.
5 – Shirley Eaton
The actress who was painted to death in Goldfinger (1964) had been acting since she was 12-years-old.
After Goldfinger, Eaton made only a few more films before abandoning acting in 1968 to devote herself to ger family.
She married a builder when she was 20 and remained happily married to him from 1957 until his death in 1994. The couple had two children, Grant and Jason.
In her later years, she has dedicated herself to painting, sculpture, writing and photography.
6 – Mie Hama
Japanese actress Mie Hama co-starred in You Only Live Twice (1967) as Kissy Suzuki, going through a fake marriage with Bond at a Buddhist temple.
Once described as the “Brigitte Bardot of Japan”, Mie starred in countless Japanese movies before retiring to focus on a “normal life”.
That ‘normal life’ encompassed authoring 14 books, becoming a television and radio host and advocate for the preservation of old farms and farming techniques in Japan – as well as marrying a TV executive and raising four children.
7 – Ursula Andress
After rising from the sea in a white bikini in Dr No in 1962, Ursula Andress became the most famous of the Bond girls. The role afforded her the freedom to take her pick of future roles and to become financially independent.
8 – Molly Peters
A shop assistant until her friends told her she ought to be a model, Molly Peters became what they used to call a pin-up.
Then people told her she ought to be in the movies, so she became an extra, and was plucked from the ranks to feature in Thunderball as Patricia Fearing, physical therapist in mink gloves.
The film’s director said Molly had the rarest of screen qualities – “instant sex”. Peters was the first Bond girl to be seen taking her clothes off on screen in the Bond series.
She married a policeman and faded from the screen.
In 2011, she suffered a mild stroke, and passed away on 30 May 2017, at the age of 78.
9 – Zena Marshall
Zena Marshall was 38 in 1962 when she enjoyed the distinction of playing Miss Taro in Dr No. Zena had appeared in several films before Dr No but never managed to scale the heights.
She made her last public appearance in the divorce courts waving farewell to a second husband in the process.
Zena Marshall died of cancer in 2009, aged 83.
10 – Daniela Bianchi
The actress who came to Bond From Russia WIth Love. Though Italian, Daniela Bianchi played Russian spy Tatiana Romanova, most memorably seen making her way to bed clad only in a neck choker.
Daniela went on to more obscure films – Weekend Italian Style (1965) and Dirty Heroes (1967) – before sacrificing a risky career for a most promising marriage. In 1970, she retired from acting to marry Genoan shipping magnate, Alberto Cameli, with whom she had one son. Her husband died in 2018.
11 – Tania Mallet
Tania abandoned modelling to co-star in Goldfinger, playing Tilly Masterson (sister of the girl covered in gold paint) and cavorting in a black catsuit. But Tania felt owned and restricted by the Bond machine and subsequent offers of acting work were met with a blanket refusal.
Tania (who was the cousin of actress Helen Mirren) married twice, inheriting three stepchildren with her second husband, Simon Radcliffe – a toy manufacturer. They remained married until his death in 2016. Tania passed away on 30 March 2019, aged 77.