Are you a fan of the James Bond films? He’s arguably the most famous spy in cinema history. But behind every great Bond, is a famous Bond Girl. One of the most famous Bond Girls was Major Anya Amasova played by Barbara Bach.
But do you know the full story about her incredible life and career? Do you know about her career outside of her role in The Spy Who Loved Me?
Her life is one that many of us can learn from. She’s had a career as a model, actress, philanthropist, and as an iconic public figure!
Let’s learn about Barbara Bach’s incredible life and career…
FROM AMERICA TO ITALY
Barbara Goldbach was born on August 27, 1947 in New York City. She began her career as a model in the 1960s. It was during this time that she met Italian businessman Augusto Gregorini. They married and she emigrated to Italy with him where she continued her modeling career.
She soon transitioned into working in Italian films and television. Her early career began with the Italian mini-series Odissea which was based on Odysseus’ life as told in the Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.
Barbara, now known as Barbara Bach, played the role of Nausicaa in all 6 episodes of the mini-series. The series became a hit and she soon became a known face among Italian audiences. She soon transitioned into working in many popular B-grade Italian films.
These films included Mio Padre Monsignore, Black Belly of the Tarantula, and Short Night of Glass Dolls. In fact, one magazine dubbed her as the “Queen of the B-Movies.”
She became well-known all over Europe and later starred in the French-language film A Few Hours of Sunlight which starred French acting legends Claudine Auger, Jean-Claude Carrière and Gerard Depardieu!
During her life in Italy she also had two children with Augusto, a daughter named Francesca and a son named Gianni.
Barbara and Augusto separated in 1975 and she returned to the United States, this time settling in Los Angeles. She was determined to continue her acting career, this time in English!
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AN ENCOUNTER WITH 007
In 1977, Barbara acted in her first English-language film. And what a way to be introduced to the English-speaking world than as a Bond Girl!
She starred as Major Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me alongside Roger Moore’s James Bond. This was one of the most exciting James Bond films that showcased the tensions between the West and the Soviet Union during the midst of the Cold War.
What many fans may not know is that she secured the role only 4 days before shooting began! While she wasn’t the biggest fan of the James Bond character himself, we’re glad that she did the film. The Spy Who Loved Me was the most expensive Bond film made at the time and became a huge hit! It’s the role that defined Barbara Bach and the one we most associate her with! Without a doubt, she’ll also be remembered as one of the most memorable Bond Girls!
Barbara Bach joined Roger Moore’s 007 to take on the criminal mastermind Karl Stromberg. The film was a hit and Barbara Bach quickly became a household name for Bond fans. She was now ready to continue acting in English-language films.
She continued to be a major celebrity and she continued to be seen as an iconic beauty. She continued to get offers for modeling and for acting. She spent the next few years acting in English films with occasional Italian films.
She acted in the Italian comedy film Ecco noi per esempio as well as English films such as Force 10 from Navarone, The Island of the Fishmen, and The Humanoid.
But her fate would change as she entered the 1980s when she appeared in a raucous comedy film called Caveman…
In 1981, Barbara Bach starred in a slapstick comedy film called Caveman. It’s a hilarious silly comedy that’s definitely worth your watch if you’re looking for a great belly laugh!
But for Barbara Bach, it wasn’t just the experience of working on the film that she remembers fondly. It was here where she began a romance with one of her co-stars, Sir Richard Starkey – who you might know better as Ringo Starr!
Barbara and Ringo fell in love on the set of Caveman and married within a year of meeting! Today, they’re one of the most famous celebrity couples in the United Kingdom.
Barbara’s first husband, Augusto, was an Italian Count. Now, she’s known as Lady Starkey in the United Kingdom. She continued to act in films following Caveman but decided to retire in 1986. Her final film appearance was in a short film called To the North of Kathmandu.
BARBARA BACH’s INCREDIBLE LIFE AND CAREER
So, what else should you know about Barbara Bach’s incredible life and career? She’s certainly lived a remarkable life as you’d expect from a model turned movie star!
While Barbara was born in the United States, she was indeed of European heritage – so it’s no wonder that she returned to her parent’s continent to reach stardom! Her father was Jewish and had ancestry from Germany, Austria, and Romania. Her mother was an Irish Catholic.
While she grew up in the United States and speaks English with an American accent, her early success in Italy made many audiences and film producers alike mistake her for being a European. Even in her English-language debut, The Spy Who Loved Me, she spoke with a thick Russian accent.
She graduated from the Dominican Commercial High School in Queens, New York. She then shortened her surname from Goldbach to Bach and began modeling. Her early work was appearing in fashion magazines and catalogs.
By the mid 1960s Barbara Bach became one of the most popular models in New York.
She became part of the prestigious Eileen Ford Agency and soon became a prominent face on the cover of glamour magazines. Her beauty caught the attention of the wealthy Italian businessman Augusto Gregorini whom she married and emigrated to Italy with.
But it’s her relationship with Ringo Starr that most of us know her by. While they were courting, they both were injured in a serious car accident. Ringo realized that he was deeply in love with Barbara and didn’t want to spend a day without her. They’ve been a celebrity power couple ever since!
Along with Patty Boyd and Yoko Ono she begun a charity known as “The Rumanian Angel.” She also worked with “Fashion Aid” a wing of the Live Aid charity venture. She even started a rehabilitation service called the Self-Help Addiction Recovery Program. She also was active in the “Parents for Safe Food” campaign. She also received an MA in Psychology from UCLA in 1993.
But she’ll continue to be remembered for her beauty and her memorable acting roles. In fact, her most memorable role as Major Anya Amasova was something that she had to fight for. Her then-boyfriend was producer Danton Rissner. He lobbied for her to land the role in The Spy Who Loved Me. While she may have been a star in Italy and across Europe, she still had to make herself known to English-speaking audiences.
Rissner managed to convince the producers to let Barbara do a screen test. Her screen test went so well that she managed to beat out major actresses including Catherine Denevue!
The experience of working on The Spy Who Loved Me is one that Barbara must have remembered fondly. Upon Sir Roger Moore’s death, Barbara discussed about how she loved working with him and that he was a wonderful person. Barbara herself could be described as graceful and generous. In fact, it was Barbara who recommended Grace Jones for the role she eventually played in the James Bond film A View To A Kill.
One thing that many fans may not know is that Barbara was a contender to replace Kate Jackson when she left Charlie’s Angels. Oddly enough, Barbara was considered to be too European and not American enough for the role!
Nevertheless, she still managed to appear in great films throughout her career. She also got to act with great actors such as Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Roger Moore, Richard Kiel, and Billy Connolly. Her co-stars loved working with her and we’ll likely keep watching her films for years to come!
Today, Barbara Bach has retired from modeling and she hasn’t acted since the 1980s. But she continues to be active in charity work and continues to be adored by fans all over the world. She and Ringo Starr have been married for forty years and remain one of the UK’s celebrity power couples.
Her story is one of inspiration to us all. She went from being an American model, to a well-known beauty in Italy, to the “Queen of B-Movies” in Italy to a Hollywood star to a British Lady! Now how many people can boast about such an incredible life and career?
Did you know any of these little-known facts about Barbara Bach? We can certainly look back on her life and really admire him for her multi-faceted career!
Do you think her best role was in the The Spy Who Loved Me? Or are there other films of hers that you’d highly recommend to your friends?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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