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Martine Beswick Played a Bond Girl Twice With All Her Beauty

There have been 79 Bond Girls featured in the 007 films that have hit theaters in the last 60 years.

But only one actress holds the unique distinction of playing a Bond Girl in two 007 films. Martine Beswick appeared in both From Russia with Love and Thunderball. She’s also known for her performances in Hammer Film Productions cult classics like Dr. Jeckyll and Sister Hyde and One Million Years BC. With a resume like that, it’s undeniable that Beswick earned herself a place among some of the most elite 1960s screen sirens.

Join Facts Verse as we discuss how Martine Beswick played a Bond Girl Twice with all her beauty.

She Was Born In Jamaica

On September 26, 1941, Beswick was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, to Ronald Stuart Davis Beswick and Myrtle May. Her father was British, while her mother had Portuguese and Jamaican heritage. When she was thirteen, Beswick’s family move to London but she ended up moving back to her homeland in the late 1950s to pursue a career in modeling and compete in beauty pageants.

Beswick’s dark features, perfect figure, and piercing black eyes were so striking that after talent agency MCA came across her photos, they wrote her asking for her to pay them a visit if she were to ever return to London.

Enamored at the prospect of starring in big-screen films, Beswick hopped aboard a plane en route to the UK where she planned on visiting the talent agency. It was there that she was introduced to 007 director Terence Young. Young proceeded to explain to her that she needed more experience, but he had a project lined up that he thought would be perfect for her in the future if she was able to hone her acting skills a bit more.

In time, Young suggested that Beswick would be an excellent fit to play a role in the inaugural Bond film, 1962s Dr. No. Beswick then auditioned for the lead female role of Honey Ryder, but much to her disappointment, the part instead went to Swiss actress Ursula Andress.

For many years, it was rumored that Beswick still made an appearance in Dr. No playing one of Maurice Binder’s dancing girls in the film’s opening credits, but Beswick cleared things up when she told Bond fansite M16-HQ a few years back that that story is untrue.

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Everyone Loves A Good Cat Fight

A year after Beswick auditioned, albeit unsuccessfully, for the role of Honey Ryder, she made her acting debut as the Gypsy girl Zora in the second Jame Bond flick From Russia With Love. In this film, audiences had the pleasure of witnessing her notorious catfight scene with fellow Gypsy rival Vida, played by actress and Miss Israel 1960 Aliza Gur.

In the title credits of From Russia With Love, Beswick’s name notably was misspelled as “Martin” Beswick. How something like that manages to slip through the cracks is anyone’s guess.

The next film in the 007 film franchise, 1964s Goldfinger was not directed by Terence Young. Bond fans no doubt recall that the big Bond Girl featured in that film was none other than the salaciously named Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman.

Beswick’s Return As A Bond Girl

Young returned to the director’s seat for the fourth film in the Bond series, Thunderball. When casting decisions were being made for the new installment in the immensely popular secret-agent-man movie series, Young made it known that he desperately wanted Beswick to come back. Despite his insistence, the producers were reluctant to use the same actress in two films.

Young fought tooth-and-nail for her to be in Thunderball, which was set in the balmy Bahamas. He ended up getting what he wished for after pointing out that it would be ridiculous to pick anyone else as Beswick was the perfect island girl.

Beswick was selected to play Paula Caplan, a secret agent and ally of James Bond. In the film, she got kidnapped by the villainous Emilio Largo and his henchmen Janni and Vargas. Ultimately her fate ended in tragedy when she chose to take her own life.

Before principal shooting began, Beswick wasn’t exactly prepped for the role. Insisting that she work on her beach bod and tan, Young instructed her to lay in the sun all day while eating food that he would personally provide for her.

Touching on this chapter of her career, Beswick told reporters that at the time she hadn’t seen the sun in years as she was too busy having fun at night. Because of her party-hardy nightlife lifestyle, Beswick self-admittedly was pale and skinny.

So, for two weeks, she took Young’s demands seriously and spent her days soaking up rays while consuming her hand-selected diet. Fortunately for her, Young’s meal selections were quite luxurious. Apparently, he spoiled her with champagne and caviar. When she was done working on her tan, she would spend her evenings partying and dancing out on the town. That’s one way to work some cardio into your routine.

Queen of the Hammer Horror Films

After playing a Bond girl, not once but twice, numerous doors of opportunity opened up for Beswick – especially in the horror film genre. Even so, she would later admit that it wasn’t easy to escape her typecasting as the Bond Girl.

In 1966, Beswick appeared in another epic catfight scene, this time with Raquel Welch, in the Hammer Film Productions movie One Million Years BC. After giving a solid performance in that iconic film, Beswick continued to appear in Hammer films. In 1967s Prehistoric Women, she landed the role of the attractive antagonist Queen Kari. Her superb performance as a sexy villain led to her scoring the lead role in Hammer’s 1971 British horror flick Dr. Jeckyll and Sister Hyde.

In this creative adaptation of the classic Jekyll and Hyde tale, Dr. Jeckyll whips up a serum that’s capable of transforming himself into the beautiful, albeit sinister, Mrs. Edwina Hyde, who becomes responsible for a string of grisly serial murders. Yet again, Beswick shined on screen with her near pitch-perfect blend of beauty and terror.

Off To Hollywood

After appearing in several feature films and spending a brief stint in Italy, Beswick relocated to Hollywood to pursue a career in the television scene in the late 1970s. While she was kind of a big deal back in the UK, she was still not very well known when she first crossed the pond and reached the United States. Essentially, she found herself starting over from scratch – having to prove herself to her new American colleagues.

It took Beswick a while to establish herself in Hollywood. No one knew her, and starting all over again was a bit discouraging. The first thing that she did was was appear onscreen alongside Robert Wagner in the ABC action-adventure series It Takes A Thief. She knew that if she could prove her worth, she’d be taken in as a part of the Hollywood family. Fortunately, her efforts paid off and Hollywood decided that she was worth working with.

Throughout the 70, Beswick appeared in a number of popular TV shows including The Six Million Dollar Man, Aspen, Baretta, and Mannix. On the big screen she made appearances in films like The Last Italian Tango, The Kiss, Strange New World, and Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell.

She continued to appear both in films and television shows until the early 90s. She retired from acting after delivering her final appearance in 1995s Night of the Scarecrow. Since then, she has offered her perspective and commentary in documentaries such as 2000s Inside From Russia With Love and 2004s The Wild Untold Story Of Cannon Films.

In 2013, she appeared on-screen alongside 11 other Bond Girl celebrity guests on the BBC program Masterchef.

Always one to show her fans a little love, to this day, Beswick remains a big draw at 007 Q&A panels and horror conventions.

After a 24-year hiatus from acting, Beswick briefly came out of retirement in 2018 to appear in the film House of the Gorgon opposite fellow Hammer film stars Christopher Neame, Veronica Carlson, and Caroline Monro.

At the age of 80, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing Beswick in any forthcoming films or TV shows, but looking back on her prolific acting career, it’s clear that she has left her indelible mark on the entertainment industry.

That about wraps up our look back at the life and career of Martine Beswick, the only actress to ever play a Bond Girl more than once.

Who was your favorite Bond Girl, and how do you think Martine Beswick stacks up against the other members of that exclusive club? Let us know in the comments.

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