Ursula Andress

Ursula Andress

Born: March 19, 1936
Age: 87
Birthplace: Ostermundigen, Switzerland
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Ursula Andress (/ˈændrɛs/; 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 James Bond film Casino Royale. Her other films include Fun in Acapulco, She, The 10th Victim, The Blue Max, Perfect Friday, The Sensuous Nurse, The Mountain 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 a German couple, Anna, a landscape gardener, and Rolf Andress, a German diplomat who was expelled from Switzerland for political reasons. He disappeared during World War II.[1] She has a brother and four sisters.

She went to school in Berne until she was 16 and became fluent in French, German and Italian. She studied art in Paris for a year, then went to Rome, where she did jobs such as nannying children.[2]


Italian films

Andress was at a party when she met a producer who offered her a screen test for a role in an Italian film. She was successful and appeared in The Sins of Casanova (1955) (starring later Bond ally Gabriele Ferzetti).[2]

She followed it with An American in Rome (1954) (starring Alberto Sordi) and La catena dell'odio (1955). She was seen by a Hollywood executive who persuaded her to try her luck in Hollywood.[3]


Andress arrived in Hollywood in January 1955.[4] In March she was signed to a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures starting at $287 a week.[5]

The contract resulted in no acting roles due to her inability to learn English at the time.[6] "I spent most of my time watching old Marlene Dietrich movies," she said.[7]

Andress did receive from publicity for dating James Dean shortly before the actor's death.[8] She bought herself out of her contract.[9] In March 1956 it was announced she signed to Columbia Pictures.[10] She made no films for them either, and was Miss World Trade of 1956.[11]

She stayed in Hollywood because she married John Derek in 1957. In 1959 it was announced she and Derek would star in a film, High Variety, but no movie resulted.[12]

Dr. No and stardom

Andress returned to screens in 1962 in an episode of Thriller, "La Strega" (1962) with Alejandro Rey.

She soon became internationally famous as Honey Ryder, a shell diver and James Bond's woman of desire in Dr. No (1962), the first Bond movie.[13] In what became an iconic moment in cinematic and fashion history,[14][15][16] 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,[17] while the calypso was sung by Diana Coupland.[18] The scene made Andress a "quintessential" Bond girl.[19][20] 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."[14][21] The bikini she wore in the film sold at auction in 2001 for £41,125 ($59,755).[22][23][24] The white web belt she was wearing was donated by sailors from HMS Troubridge, watching on the set when Ms Andress realized something was missing from her outfit. The belt was a part of the full dress uniform of the Royal Navy.[25] In 2003, in a UK Survey by Channel 4, her entrance in Dr. No was voted #1 in "the 100 Greatest Sexy Moments".[26] Andress won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1964 for her appearance in the film.[27]

Andress followed it playing the female lead in an Elvis Presley musical, Fun in Acapulco (1963). She was billed after Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Anita Ekberg in 4 for Texas (1963); her casting in the latter led the title being changed from Two for Texas.[28] Both films were widely seen. Less so was a film Andress starred in alongside Derek, Nightmare in the Sun (1965).

In 1965, nude photographs of her from Nightmare in the Sun were published in Playboy; it would be the first of seven times she was pictured in the magazine over the next fifteen years.[3][29] When asked why she had agreed to do the Playboy shoot, Andress replied coolly, "Because I'm beautiful."[30][31]

Career peak

Andress was cast in the title role of She (1965) playing an immortal queen, for Hammer Films and Seven Arts Productions, shot in England and Israel. Andress agreed to make it as part of a two-picture deal with Seven Arts. It was a hit at the box office, though Andress elected not to appear in the sequel, The Vengeance of She (1967).

Andress had a support role in the comedy What's New Pussycat? (1965) for producer Charles K. Feldman which was a huge hit. She went to France to play Jean-Paul Belmondo's love interest in Up to His Ears (1965), which was popular in France; she and Belmondo became romantically involved, leading to her and Derek breaking up (although they remained close friends).[32] Andress moved to Paris to live with Belmondo and it would be her home for the next seven years.[9]

In Italy, she starred opposite Marcello Mastroianni in the science fiction movie The 10th Victim (1965). She returned to Hollywood to play George Peppard's love interest in the World War One film, The Blue Max (1966), another success at the box office.[33]

Andress made her second film for Seven Arts: another with Derek, who again starred and directed, Once Before I Die (1966), shot in the Philippines.

More widely seen was the Bond satire Casino Royale (1967), also produced by Feldman, where Andress played Vesper Lynd, an occasional spy who persuades Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, to carry out a mission. It was a big box office hit. Her fee was a reported £200,000.[2]

The actress shows the reasons of her nickname "Ursula Undress" in Loaded Guns (1975)

In Italy she appeared alongside fellow former Bond girl Claudine Auger in Anyone Can Play (1968) for director Luigi Zampa. She then went to Africa to make The Southern Star (1969) with George Segal, which was a hit in England.[34] 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".[35]


Andress went to England to appear in Perfect Friday (1970), a heist movie starring Stanley Baker and David Warner.

In Spain she appeared in Red Sun (1971), a Western with an international cast, including Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune and Alain Delon. In a 1972 interview she said "I think my image, especially to Americans, is that of a femme fatale, a man-eating woman. I'm not empty headed or calculating and cool. But maybe my looks give that impression. I'm disciplined in my doings and undisciplined in my emotions. I can't control the things I feel or hide my feelings."[9]

Andress did some action films, Motel of Fear (1973, Loaded Guns (1974), and Africa Express (1975). She played the title role in The Sensuous Nurse (1975) and did a comedy with another former Bond girl, Barbara Bouchet, Spogliamoci così, senza pudor... (1976).

Andress played Joséphine de Beauharnais in the swashbuckling spoof The Loves and Times of Scaramouche (1976) with Michael Sarrazin. She made a sequel to Africa Express, Safari Express (1976), then did another with Mastroianni, Double Murder (1978).

Andress was in the cult favorite Slave of the Cannibal God (1978) with Stacy Keach, Tigers in Lipstick (1979) for Luigi Zampa, and The Fifth Musketeer (1979), playing Louise de La Vallière.[36]


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 and guest starred on shows like Manimal and The Love Boat. In France she was in Liberté, égalité, choucroute (1985).

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.

Andress was also in Big Man - The Diva (1988) with Bud Spencer and Man Against the Mob: The Chinatown Murders (1980).


Since the beginning of the 1990s, her acting appearances have been rare. She was in Klassäzämekunft (1990), The Cave of the Golden Rose 3 (1993), The Cave of the Golden Rose 4 (1994) and Cremaster 5 (1995).

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).

She appeared in the documentary Masterpiece or Forgery? The Story of Elmyr De Hory (2008).

Personal life

Andress dated film icon James Dean shortly before his death in 1955.[37] That same year, she began an affair with actor/director John Derek,[38] a married father-of-two who walked out on his wife, Pati Behrs, and their family to be with 19-year-old Andress.[38] They wed in 1957 in Las Vegas, but separated in 1963[39] (other sources say September 1965[40]) and officially divorced in 1966.[37]

She had romantic relationships with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Ryan O'Neal and Fabio Testi.[36]

Andress was in a relationship with American actor Harry Hamlin after meeting on the set of Clash of the Titans in 1979.[41] She gave birth to their son, Dimitri Hamlin, on 19 May 1980.[42] After she gave birth to a son at age 44, she moved into close friend Linda Evans’ Coldwater Canyon home until hers was ready.[43] Although an engagement was announced,[44] the couple never married.[42] In 1983, Hamlin broke up with her.[45]


Andress in the 1950s Andress with Elvis Presley and Elsa Cárdenas in Fun in Acapulco (1963). Andress in Loaded Guns (1975) Andress in 2004 Andress surrounded by TV crews on board the Royal Yacht Britannia celebrating her 70th birthday in 2006
Film Year Role Notes
Un americano a Roma 1954 Astrid Uncredited
La catena dell'odio 1955 N/A
Le avventure di Giacomo Casanova 1955
Thriller 1962 Luana TV series; episode: "La Strega"
Dr. No 1962 Honey Ryder Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actress
Fun in Acapulco 1963 Marguerita Dauphin
4 for Texas 1963 Maxine Richter
Nightmare in the Sun 1965 Marsha Wilson
She 1965 Ayesha
What's New Pussycat? 1965 Rita
Up to His Ears 1965 Alexandrine Pinardel
The 10th Victim 1965 Caroline Meredith
The Blue Max 1966 Countess Kaeti von Klugermann
Once Before I Die 1966 Alex
Casino Royale 1967 Vesper Lynd/007
Anyone Can Play 1968 Norma
The Southern Star 1969 Erica Kramer
Perfect Friday 1970 Lady Britt Dorset
Red Sun 1971 Cristina
Loaded Guns 1974 Nora Green
Stateline Motel 1975 Michelle Nolton
Africa Express 1975 Madeleine Cooper
The Sensuous Nurse 1975 Anna
The Loves and Times of Scaramouche 1976 Joséphine de Beauharnais
Sex with a Smile II 1976 Marina
Safari Express 1977 Miriam
Double Murder 1978 Principessa Dell'Orso
The Mountain of the Cannibal God 1978 Susan Stevenson
The Fifth Musketeer 1979 Louise de La Vallière
Tigers in Lipstick 1979 The Stroller/The Widow
Clash of the Titans 1981 Aphrodite
Red Bells 1982 Mabel Dodge
Manimal 1983 Karen TV series
The Love Boat 1983 Carole Stanton TV series
Liberté, Égalité, Choucroute (fr) 1985 Marie Antoinette
Peter the Great 1986 Athalie TV mini-series
Falcon Crest 1988 Madame Malec TV series
Il Professore - Diva 1988 Susy Kaminski TV movie
Klassezämekunft (de) 1988 Agnes
Man Against the Mob: The Chinatown Murders 1989 Betty Starr TV movie
Ti ho adottato per simpatia 1991 TV movie
Fantaghirò 3 1993 Xellesia TV movie
Fantaghirò 4 1994 Xellesia TV movie
Alles gelogen 1996
Cremaster 5 1997 Queen of Chain
Die Vogelpredigt oder Das Schreien der Mönche (de) 2005 Madonna

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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