From the moment Honey Ryder emerged from the Caribbean sea in a white bikini clutching shells in Dr No, the legend of Bond ‘girls’ was created.
Swiss actress Ursula Andress was perfectly cast as 007’s first so-called ‘Bond girl’, there was just one problem: Andress’ thick Swiss-German accent made her so difficult to understand that German-British voice-over artist Nikki van der Zyl traded lines with Bond (Sean Connery) instead, including their unforgettable introduction:
Honey: Are you looking for shells?
Bond (Sean Connery): No, just looking.
Here are the Top 10 secrets that make the Bond girls so legendary!
Actress: Honor Blackman (1925-2020)
Role: Pussy Galore, leader of Pussy Galore's Flying Circus female aviators, Goldfinger, 1964
Secret: US censors banned Pussy Galore’s full name on promotional materials so her Goldfinger character was initially introduced to the American public as Miss Galore. Blackman, already a British star for her work in The Avengers television show, liked to embarrass US interviewers by repeatedly referring to her character by the full name.
Actress: Margaret Nolan (1943 - 2020)
Role: Dink, Bond’s masseuse in Goldfinger, 1964
Secret: Margaret Nolan shot to screen immortality in 1964 for her iconic gold body paint in Goldfinger. Nolan was originally only offered a role as a model in the opening sequence but she smartly negotiated an acting role playing Dink, Bond’s masseuse, in the film itself. To perfect the final effect she was painted gold every day for a week, listening to jazz while a photographer snapped away.
Actress: Diana Rigg (1938 – 2020)
Role: Countess Teresa di Vincenzo (aka Mrs Tracy Bond), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969
Secret: The Avengers’ star Diana Rigg played the on-screen wife of James Bond in George Lazenby’s one and only Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Rigg once caught her 007 co-star with his pants down in the stunt tent (there were a lot of mattresses and a hotel receptionist in there also, Lazenby explained later). Their relationship was reportedly frosty but Lazenby spoke of his sadness at Rigg’s death in 2020.
Actress: Madeline Smith (born 1949)
Role: Miss Caruso, Live And Let Die, 1973
Secret: Madeleine Smith said she was proud to have co-starred with Roger Moore in his first Bond film Live and Let Die. She revealed that a special effects man was used in the scene where Bond uses his magnetic watch to unzip the Italian villainess’ dress. Off-camera, he was pulling a wire inside the dress to achieve the effect.
Actress: Britt Ekland (born 1942)
Role: Mary Goodnight, field agent, The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974
Secret: Not just a hero on screen, Roger Moore saved Britt Ekland during filming of The Man With The Golden Gun. “We were escaping from Scaramanga’s island with a series of controlled explosions,” Ekland recalled. “I was too slow and one explosion went off right under my bottom and singed my bikini... Roger grabbed my hand and pulled me up to safety and carried me along to finish the scene unscathed.”
Actress: Tanya Roberts (1955-2021)
Role: Stacey Sutton, geologist, A View to a Kill, 1985
Secret: Tanya Roberts hesitated before agreeing to co-star with Roger Moore, fearing the Bond career curse. “I said to my agent: No one ever works after they get a Bond movie,” Roberts revealed in 2015. “And they said to me: Are you kidding? Glenn Close would do it if she could.” Maybe she was right, Roberts never landed another leading film role after A View to a Kill.
Actress: Halle Berry (born 1966)
Role: Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson, US intelligence agent, Die Another Day, 2002
Secret: Berry was shooting a romantic scene with Bond (Pierce Brosnan) when things went awry. “I was supposed to be all sexy and trying to seduce him with a fig, and then I ended up choking on it,” Barry revealed. “He had to get up and do the Heimlich. It was so not sexy.” In true Bond fashion, Brosnan later downplayed his quick reflexes, calling it a little more than a pat on the back.
Actress: Carey Lowell (born 1961)
Role: Pam Bouvier, CIA pilot, Licence to Kill, 1989
Secret: Actress Carey Lowell didn’t read any of Ian Fleming’s novels before shooting 1989’s Licence to Kill with Timothy Dalton. "In a way, the books didn't really affect my character," she said. Lowell’s favorite female Bond character was portrayed by Blackman as Pussy Galore. "She was more masculine in her way, even though she was very beautiful," Lowell said. "That was why she probably wasn't so susceptible to Bond's charm."
Actress: Gemma Arterton (born 1986)
Role: Strawberry Fields, MI6 agent, Quantum of Solace, 2008
Secret: Gemma Arterton won the role of Strawberry Fields ahead of 1,500 other actresses but she has regrets - namely, she wishes her Bond character had turned down a night of passion with 007. "At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living,” she said. "I still get criticism for accepting Quantum Of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and you, know, it was a Bond film... ”
Actress: Léa Seydoux (born 1985)
Role: Psychiatrist Dr. Madeleine Swann, Spectre & No Time To Die
Secret: French actress Léa Seydoux reprises her role in No Time to Die as psychiatrist Madeleine Swann (a nod to Proust fans who may recall the madeleine cakes that trigger the process of remembering). Seydoux said fans will be moved by No Time to Die: “I bet you're going to cry. When I watched it, I cried, which is weird because I am in it.”