The First Bond Girl: Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in Dr. No

by Joi

Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in Dr. No

I’ve been reading (and thoroughly enjoying) a recent Christmas gift to my husband from our oldest daughter. It’s a big, gorgeous gold book titled, James Bond: The Secret World of 007.

Thanks, in large part, to this great book – James Bond movies are occupying a great deal of my thoughts lately!

I thought I’d just run with that and start a series of posts about the actors and actresses who have appeared in James Bond movies.

I’ve already done quite a few posts about many of these stars – but, what the heck, can you really have too much Ursula Andress, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, or (my favorite Bond) Pierce Brosnan?

No, I didn’t think so.

Ursula Andress lead a pretty interesting life. Not only was she married to John Derek (until an affair she was having broke up the marriage), she had a relationship with Harry Hamlin. They met while making “Clash of the Titans.” Our girl Ursula was a cougar before the term was even born – she was 43 and Harry was 27.

She was also very involved with James Dean and was rumored to be with him when he picked out the car that he would later wreck (and die in).

Ursula Andress was, of course, Honey Ryder in Dr. No (1962).  This movie marked Sean Connery’s first appearance as James Bond.

Dr. No is actually an enjoyable movie.   In the film,  James Bond’s investigation of a missing colleague in Jamaica leads him to the island of the mysterious Dr. No and a scheme to end the US space program.

Author Ian Fleming actually wanted his cousin Christopher Lee to play Dr. No. (Lee would later appear as Scaramanga in the 007 flick The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), and would play the character that inspired Fleming to create Dr. No, Dr. Fu Manchu, in several films.)

Fleming also asked Noel Coward to play the part of Dr. No. Coward turned down the part by replying with a telegram that read, “Dr. No? No! No! No!” One of Coward’s objections was having to wear metal hands. Max von Sydow turned down the part in order to play Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and would finally play a Bond villain in Never Say Never Again (1983).

In the end, the role of Dr. No went to Joseph Wiseman, the only early Bond villain not to have his voice dubbed by another actor.

All in all, however, Ursula pretty much emerged as the star of Dr. No and will forever be remembered as the original Bond Girl.

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