Who was Ursula Andress

Bern (AP) - She set the standards for the Bond girls: When Ursula Andress emerged from the sea in the first James Bond film in 1962 in a white bikini, not only Her Majesty's greatest agent was weak.

The enthusiasm of the audience ensured that from then on sexy Bond girls became an integral part of the cult series. The Swiss will turn 85 on March 19.

To this day, the bikini scene from "James Bond - 007 is chasing Dr. No" with the legendary Sean Connery in the role of agent is probably the most famous film role of the actress. She did not expect the audience reaction, she said in an interview with the magazine "Management & Branding" in 2012. "I was really surprised at the echo my bikini scene had, to this day."

"Ursi National", as the actress is called in Switzerland, remained the woman with the ultimate "bikini expertise" throughout her life: in 2014, at 78, she won the bikini parade in a Swiss Miss election. Beauty is a gift, but not everything, said Andress. "Style and heart are also part of a great personality." The legendary bikini was auctioned in 2001 in London for 65,000 euros.

Andress wasn't able to speak until her milestone birthday. "She is fine," assures her Swiss press office, but she does not want any interviews. She last made public statements when Sean Connery died in October 2020: "Our encounter on an island in the Caribbean was fateful for both of us," she told the newspaper "Blick". "And the beginning of a lifelong friendship." Andress has lived near Rome for many years.

They may have faded in memory, but Andress has made many successful films in addition to the Bond flick. In 1965 she played in the French-American comedy "What's New, Pussy?" about the erotic entanglements of a womanizer alongside Romy Schneider and Woody Allen. In 1981 she was the goddess of love, Aphrodite, in the American-British fantasy film "Clash of the Titans" with motifs from Greek mythology.

Andress grew up in the province of Ostermundigen near Bern, with a Swiss mother, a German father and five siblings. At 17, she ran off to Paris with a French actor, as she said in the 2012 interview. She took dance and acting lessons, went to Rome as a model, got to know US actor Marlon Brando and the jet set and got to Hollywood.

She got her first role in the film "Casanova - his love and adventure" (1955). Mostly as a seductress, she stood in front of the camera with well-known stars, such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in "Four for Texas" and Elvis Presley in "Fun in Acapulco". She also scored in demanding productions, such as the French-Italian science fiction "The tenth victim" (1965) with Marcello Mastroianni.

The best time, there was no question for Andress: "Without a doubt the sixties", she told the magazine "Management & Branding". "Back then everything was full of lust and joie de vivre."

She was married to the American director John Derek for almost ten years until 1966 and later was in a relationship with the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo for several years. The 15 years younger US actor Harry Hamlin, whom she met while filming "Clash of the Titans", became the father of her son, who was born in 1980.

She hated photos in her later years, she hated the constant snapping of cell phones, she told the Swiss magazine "Glückspost" in 2019. "At my age, anyway." "I have all the ingredients of age," she said. "Diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis. You're not like an old car that can be upgraded with spare parts."

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