James Bond turns 60 in Hollywood – and two actresses who helped bring the British spy to life remember the original star of the franchise.
October 5 is James Bond Day, also known as the date of the world premiere of the first 007 film, “Dr. No”, in 1962. American producer Albert R. Broccoli, inspired by Ian Fleming’s novels, obtained financing from United Artists and raised $1 million. It would go on to become one of the most famous franchises in film history.
While the secret agent made a name for himself with undeniable charm, futuristic gadgets and sophisticated style, it was the Bond girls who kept him on his toes, all the while captivating audiences across the globe.
Ursula Andress made a name for herself as Honey Rider, the bikini-clad siren in “Dr. No” opposite Sean Connery as Bond. Andress’ son, Dimitri Hamlin, told Fox News Digital that the iconic role made an undeniable impact on her successful decades-long career.
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“Overall, she feels very lucky,” Hamlin said of the Swiss star. “Lucky how she was able to meet and learn from such great people as Sean, Ian Fleming and [director] Terence Young. And how grateful she is to have been surrounded by such creative and funny people for so long.”
“She also feels very lucky that the public liked her and that the franchise was a success,” the 42-year-old shared. “And she feels to her, Sean was the best Bond.”
While the film was condemned as immoral by the Vatican and the Kremlin, it was screened at the White House for Bond fan President Kennedy. It went on to become a box office hit and launched a franchise that survived its Cold War origins. Connery continued as Bond in “From Russia With Love”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever”, often performing his own stunts.
Lana Wood also befriended Connery when she was cast as Plenty O’Toole in 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever.”
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“The day we were supposed to shoot the scene in the hotel room, I was a nervous wreck,” the actress recalled to Fox News Digital. “The wardrobe lady said to wait a moment and she brought me a shot of blackberry brandy. I drank it quickly but didn’t know if it helped.”
“The director was nice enough to clear the whole room including sound,” the younger sibling told Natalie Wood. “The sound was set up in the hallway and it was only necessary crew. Camera operator, director and wardrobe held a cape for me. Sean and I moved close and he zipped up my dress. It fell around my feet. We then had to go into a passionate kiss and I was so nervous it would give away that we were having an affair… I barely touched his mouth!”
“I have a picture from that scene and it’s almost unbearable to watch,” Wood continued. “To me! The wardrobe gave me my robe, but someone took a picture of me and Sean before I was covered. It turned up years later for $400! I quickly bought the rights and the picture.”
In 2021, Wood told Fox News Digital that the chemistry between her and Connery was undeniable and that they reportedly had a brief fling.
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“At the time I had a really lovely relationship with Leslie Bricusse,” she recalled. “Leslie had gone back to London. And I just felt that I really had to tell Sean that this relationship wasn’t going to continue because I was very much in love with Leslie Bricusse. I thought Sean was absolutely wonderful, but I could don’t see him anymore. I had to tell him. So when I told him, he said, ‘I totally understand.’ And that was it. We were in the hallway leading to the casino getting ready to shoot. And I walked away. I finished the shoot and then went back to hair and makeup.”
“I just needed him to know,” Wood continued. “And so many years later it suddenly dawned on me. He probably thought, ‘What a stupid girl! Of course we shouldn’t have a relationship’. I just thought it was funny that I should say something to him. But I had to be honest with him.”
In 2020, Barbara Carrera told Fox News Digital that she still had fond memories of sharing the screen with Connery as Fatima in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.”
“He was absolutely a great kisser,” the actress said at the time. “Everything that has been said about him is true. But he was also a gentleman. And you knew his wife was on the set at all moments. He was very alert. So the idea of stealing kisses did not occur to us in. But the scene was so sacred, so pure. It was so special to me.”
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“I remember we were filming our kissing scene,” Carrera recalled. “We looked up and there it was [his wife] Micheline stares right back at us. It took us right off the stage. So Sean had her taken off the set. We laughed a lot about that after the filming was long over. Micheline had a great sense of humor about it all.”
Carrera said she was originally offered a role in 1983’s “Octopussy,” which featured Roger Moore as 007. But when she heard Connery was set to star in an upcoming film about the suave secret agent, she turned the role down, even though she it meant taking on a smaller role.
The franchise has seen six actors as Bond. Daniel Craig completed his time playing 007 with last year’s “No Time to Die.” According to reports, the casting team is currently looking for its next leading star.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.