James Bond turns 60 in Hollywood, and two actresses who helped bring the British spy to life remember the franchise’s original star.
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 the novels of Ian Fleming, was financed by United Artists and raised $1 million. It would become one of the most celebrated franchises in film history.
While the secret agent made his mark with undeniable charm, futuristic gadgets and sophisticated style, it was the Bond girls who kept him on his toes, all while captivating audiences around the world.
Ursula Andress made her mark as Honey Rider, the bikini-clad mermaid in “Dr. No” opposite Sean Connery as Bond. Andress’s son Dimitri Hamlin told Fox News Digital that the iconic role had an undeniable impact on his decades-long successful career.
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“Overall, she feels very fortunate,” Hamlin said of the Swiss star. “Fortunate how he was able to meet and meet such fine 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 fortunate that the audience likes it and that the franchise was a success,” the 42-year-old shared. “And she feels like for 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 became a blockbuster and launched a franchise that transcended its Cold War origins. Connery continued as Bond in “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever,” often doing 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 nervous,” the actress recalled to Fox News Digital. “The lady in the wardrobe said to wait a minute, and brought me a glass of blackberry brandy. I drank it quickly but I didn’t know if it helped.”
“The director was kind enough to clear the entire room, including the sound,” shared Natalie Wood’s younger brother. “The sound was set up in the hallway, and all we needed was the crew. The camera operator, the director, and the wardrobe with a dressing gown for me. Sean and I got close and he unzipped my dressed. He fell at my feet. At the time we were supposed to. kiss passionately, and I was so nervous that he would reveal the fact that we were having an affair… I barely touched his mouth!”
“I have a picture of that scene and it’s almost unbearable to look at,” Wood continued. “For me! The wardrobe gave me the robe, but someone took a photo of me and Sean before I was covered. It came out years later for $400! I quickly bought the rights and the photo.”
In 2021, Wood told Fox News Digital that the chemistry between her and Connery was undeniable and that they allegedly had a brief fling.
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“I had a very lovely relationship with Leslie Bricusse at the time,” he recalled. “Leslie was back in London. And I just felt I had to tell Sean that this relationship wasn’t going to continue because I was so in love with Leslie Bricusse. I thought Sean was absolutely wonderful, but I couldn’t see him. I had to tell him. So when I told him, he said, “I completely understand.” And that was it. We were in the hallway leading to the casino getting ready to shoot. And I left. I finished the take and then I went back to hair and makeup.”
“I just needed him to know,” Wood continued. “And many years later, all of a sudden, I realized. She probably thought, ‘What a silly girl! Of course, we wouldn’t have a relationship.’ 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 that his wife was on the set at all times. He was very vigilant. So the idea of stealing kisses did not occur to us . 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 looks at us again. He took us out of the scene. So Sean had her removed from the set. We had a good laugh about it after we finished filming. Micheline had a great sense of humor about it all.”
Carrera said he was initially approached to star in 1983’s “Octopussy,” which featured Roger Moore as 007. However, when he learned Connery was set to appear in an upcoming film about the suave secret agent, he turned down the role, even though 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 on the lookout for their next lead star.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.