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Monday, June 19, 2017
Ursula Andress (born 19 March 1936) is a Swiss film and television actress, former model and sex symbol, who has appeared in American, British and Italian films. She is best known for her breakthrough role as Bond girl Honey Ryder in the first James Bond film, Dr. No. She later starred as Vesper Lynd in the Bond-parody Casino Royale. Her other films include Fun in Acapulco, She, The Blue Max, Perfect Friday, The Sensuous Nurse, Slave of the Cannibal God, The Fifth Musketeer and Clash of the Titans.
Andress, the third of six children, was born in Ostermundigen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland to Anna, a gardener, and Rolf Andress, a German diplomat who was expelled from Switzerland for political reasons. He disappeared during World War II. She has a brother and four sisters.
At 18, Andress left Switzerland and went to Rome, Italy where she had walk-on parts in three Italian films. Within a year she came to California and was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures, but the contract resulted in no acting roles due to her inability to learn English at the time.
Andress became famous as Honey Ryder, a shell diver and James Bond's woman of desire in Dr. No (1962), the first Bond movie. In what became an iconic moment in cinematic and fashion history, she rose out of the Caribbean Sea in a white bikini sporting a large diving knife on her hip. Due to her heavy Swiss-German accent, the character's voice was provided by Nikki van der Zyl, while the calypso was sung by Diana Coupland. The scene made Andress a "quintessential" Bond girl. Andress later said that she owed her career to that white bikini: "This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent." The bikini she wore in the film sold at auction in 2001 for £41,125 ($59,755). In 2003, in a UK Survey by Channel 4, her entrance in Dr. No was voted #1 in "the 100 Greatest Sexy Moments". Andress won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1964 for her appearance in the film.
Andress co-starred with Elvis Presley in the 1963 musical film Fun in Acapulco, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 4 for Texas (1963), opposite Marcello Mastroianni in The 10th Victim (1965), alongside John Richardson in She (1965), and as the countess in The Blue Max (1966). She also appeared in the Bond satire Casino Royale (1967) as Vesper Lynd, an occasional spy who persuades Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, to carry out a mission. Later, she worked with fellow former Bond girls Claudine Auger in Anyone Can Play (1968), Barbara Bach in Stateline Motel (1975), and Luciana Paluzzi in The Sensuous Nurse (1975).
In 1965, she posed nude for Playboy; it would be the first of seven times she was pictured in the magazine over the next fifteen years. When asked why she had agreed to do the Playboy shoot, Andress replied coolly, "Because I'm beautiful." She went on to appear nude or semi-nude in nearly all of her film roles between 1969 and 1979, earning her the nickname "Ursula Undress."
Other films from this period of her career include the West African diamond-searching adventure The Southern Star (1969) with George Seagal, the crime caper Perfect Friday (1970) with Stanley Baker and David Warner, the western Red Sun (1972) with Charles Bronson and Alain Delon, as Joséphine de Beauharnais in the swashbuckling spoof The Loves and Times of Scaramouche (1976) with Michael Sarrazin, the cult favorite Slave of the Cannibal God (1978) with Stacey Keach, and as Louise de La Vallière in The Fifth Musketeer (1979) with Beau Bridges.
She played Aphrodite in 1981's Clash of the Titans, where she worked with Laurence Olivier. During the making of the film, Andress linked up with leading man Harry Hamlin, who became the father of her child. In 1982, she portrayed Mabel Dodge in the adventure-drama film Red Bells. On television, she participated in the 1986 Emmy-winning miniseries Peter the Great, and joined the cast of the primetime soap opera Falcon Crest for a three-episode arc in 1988 as an exotic foreigner who assists David Selby in retrieving Dana Sparks from a white slave ring.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, her acting appearances have been rare. In 1995, Andress was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in film history." Her last role to date was playing "Madonna" in the low-budget 2005 Swiss feature Die Vogelpredigt oder Das Schreien der Mönche (de) (English title: The Bird Preachers).
Andress dated film icon James Dean shortly before his death in 1955. That same year, she began an affair with actor/director John Derek, a married father-of-two who walked out on his wife, Pati Behrs, and their family to be with 19-year-old Andress. They wed in 1957 in Las Vegas, but separated in 1963 and officially divorced in 1966. Andress was in a relationship with American actor Harry Hamlin after meeting on the set of Clash of the Titans in 1979. She gave birth to their son, Dimitri Hamlin, on 19 May 1980. Although an engagement was announced, the couple never married. In 1983, Hamlin broke up with her.
I am thought to be exiled gentry, a vagabond, a scandalous rogue, a troubadour, armchair tactician, amateur grifter, self taught mechanic, would be author, adventurer, rogue scholar, traveler of strange lands, and an all round near do well.