Believe it or not, James Bond has been saving the world from the sinister forces of evil since 1953; when author Ian Fleming first published his first of 12 007 novels and short stories. As far as the film franchise goes, the first Bond film, Dr. No, hit theaters in 1962, thus elevating Sean Connery to the level of superstardom.
But while the male actors who have portrayed James Bond over the years have received quite a bit of attention and fanfare while going on to have thriving careers in Hollywood. The ladies of the popular film and book series have well-received by the public in the short-term, only to be thrown in the compost bin once a new Bond girl comes along.
Bond girls have come in every shape, size, and variety. They have been socialites, mistresses, secret agents, assassins, tarot-card readers, smugglers, cellists, computer programmers, smugglers, nuclear physicists, and even unemployed.
But even though the ladies of the James Bond franchise have been quite prolific over the years, it’s somewhat of a mystery why so many of them have seemingly fallen off the face of the earth in the years and decades since they graced the big screen. Are Bond girls destined to a post-007 life of disgrace – thrown to the wayside only to sulk in their ignominy? Or is it merely a myth that the girls of Bond are cursed?
Join Facts Verse as we tackle this perplexing and thought-provoking topic while taking a closer look at the later lives and careers of some of the actresses who shared the screen with one of the world’s most famous secret agents.
Famed for her breathtaking looks, Bach landed her role as the Russian agent Anya Amasova in the Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, starring in the film alongside Roger Moore. That also the same year that she featured in Playboy magazine. She used the increased attention that she received from appearing in that publication to land further roles, including parts in Force 10 From Navarone and Caveman which proved to be career successes, but she also experienced quite a few flops as well.
After experiencing her career essentially going down the drain, she tried one last time to resurrect her floundering career by auditioning for a role in the television series Charlie’s Angels, but she ended up losing the part to Shelley Hack. By 1986, Bach was ready to quit acting once and for all. That’s when she got married to Ringo Starr, the former drummer of The Beatles. Starr actually had a pretty goog impact on her life as well – seeing as how he managed to help her beat her long-standing battle with alcoholism.
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This English actress was a global sex symbol, popular singer, and star of the early Carry On series of films before she landed her most famous role as Jill Masterson in 1964s Goldfinger. She even managed to outshine Honor Blackman, the actress who portrayed Pussy Galore in that same film, appearing on the cover of Life Magazine that year. But not long after joining the ranks of the Bond girls, her career stagnated, and the rumors started going around that she had suffered a similar fate as her character in Goldfinger, who died after being painted with solid gold. While she hadn’t actually died, she did quit acting to instead focus on raising her family.
Before she emerged from the ocean as the aptly named character Jinx in Die Another Day, Berry had taken home an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her role as Storm in the X-Men films. After that less-than-stellar Bond Film, Berry’s personal life was a series of ups and downs. During the filming of the commercial flop Gothika, for example, Berry broke her arm – and not long after, she went through her second divorce. And we can’t mention Berry without mentioning her Razzle-Award-winning role in perhaps the worst superhero movie ever made, Catwoman. It became fairly clear that anything that she appeared in that didn’t have an X in the title was likely to be a dud. In case you haven’t noticed, Berry has virtually disappeared in recent years and isn’t nearly as sought-after as she was in the early 2000s.
Whoever’s idea it was to cast the somewhat ditzy Richards as a nuclear physicist in 1999s The World Is Not Enough was clearly on something because her portrayal as Dr. Christmas Jones in that film wasn’t convincing to anyone. Not surprisingly, after that turn, her ascent into stardom practically fizzled. Even though she once seemed destined for glory while appearing in hit films like Wild Things and Super Troopers, she quickly was transformed into run-of-the-mill tabloid fodder due largely in part to her destructive car accident of a relationship with Charlie Sheen, a rather desperate Playboy shoot, and a truly awful reality show that no one remembers anymore.
Even though she enjoyed a resurgence in popularity later on in her life, portraying the mom in the popular sitcom That 70s Show, Roberts, who starred in 1985s A View To Kill, said that being a bond girl was a license to kill – her career that is.
The former model-turned-actor pretty much vanished from Hollywood after appearing in that film and wouldn’t land a single leading role in the three decades since appearing opposite of Roger Moore. The ex-Charlie’s Angel knew that it wasn’t the best career move to appear in the film, but she did it anyway. She even shared her concerns with her agent, mentioning that no one ever got work after they appeared in a Bond movie. Roberts’ agent basically gaslit her for voicing her concern and told her that Glen Close would even do if she could.
Roberts has retrospectively concluded that taking on such glamorous roles as one of Charlie’s Angels and a Bond girl essentially typecast her. And if she could have gone back and done things differently, she would have stepped into the spotlight a lot slower than she had.
Here we have another British actress who left her mark by tumbling down a mountain with Timothy Dalton in the 1987 Bond offering The Living Daylights. Although she stayed busy appearing in a series of minor television roles since then, the 50-something actress hasn’t come close to landing another role as big as that 007 role in the years since she signed on to be a Bond girl.
On multiple occasions, she has even resorted to cashing in on her short-lived Bond fame by penning a tribute book called Bond Girls are Forever and by producing a documentary film that essentially covered the same material. Unfortunately, she suffered from a severe brain hemorrhage in 2007, but she has since staged a full recovery.
This former model dazzled audiences in Goldeneye, portraying the strong-willed programmer Natalya Simonova. From there, she must have taken career advice from an orangutan because she turned down the lead roles in successful films such as The Mask of Zorro and LA Confidential. Instead, she appeared in flops like Vertical Limit, Exorcist: The Beginning, and Reign of Fire. Scorupco has since faded into obscurity.
It’s not much of a surprise that this actress hasn’t taken seriously ever since she added the name Holly Goodhead to her resume. After playing the CIA Agent with the innuendo-laden name in 1979s Moonraker, she gave up acting for three years after her younger brother passed away. In 2001, Chiles also sadly diagnosed with breast cancer. Her last notable role after playing a Bond girl was as JR’s lover in the first season of Dallas.
Jill St. John
As a talented young actress, St John signed to Universal Pictures at the age of 16. After appearing in several hit films and earning a Golden Globe nod in 1963, her career seemed to go cold. Perhaps her biggest career-defining moment came eight years later when she played the Bond girl, Tiffany Case, in Diamonds are forever, but from then on, she experienced a downward spiral consisting of awful TV movie roles and minor-guest roles in series like Dempsey and Makepeace and The Love Boat.
This voluptuous actress and lesser-known sister of actress Natalie Wood briefly had her moment in the sun while playing the opportunistic siren Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds are Forever. She never was quite able to recapture the same kind of success that she found with that role and went on to appear in a slew of lackluster made-for-TV movies In the years that followed. After her sister was tragically killed – and perhaps even murdered – in 1981, Lana published a controversial memoir that led to her becoming estranged from the rest of her family.
Before portraying Kissy Suzuki in You Only Live Twice, Hama was a popular personage in Japanese films. After starring in the Bond film, however, she was unable to find work in the Western world due to her poor grasp of the English Language, and she eventually returned home only to find that the nation’s film industry was in shambles. Hama went on to become an environmental activist, so at least she eventually found her role in this world.
Just three years after winning second place at the 1960 Miss World Contest, Bianchi landed the role of Russian secret agent Tatiana and was tasked with seducing 007 in the 1963 Bond film From Russia With Love. During the production of that film, however, a car accident wounded her face. Her injuries were so extensive that her voice had to be dubbed over. Bianchi went on to appear in obscure French and Italian films and ultimately retired from acting in 1970.
Do you believe in the Bond Girl curse? If so, why do you think it is that actresses who appear in 007 films end up having their careers deflate like a busted air mattress? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.
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