Born in Switzerland to German parents, Ursula Andress first sought out film work while on a holiday to Rome (she later insisted that the producers came to her first). After a string of cheap films, Andress was brought to the U.S. as the New Dietrich, although the only things she actually had in common with Marlene Dietrich were German heritage and a magnificent legs. In 1957, Andress married American actor John Derek, who supervised every aspect of her career in much the same way that he'd later mold Bo Derek. The marriage ended unhappily, although the couple remained friends. She became an international sensation through her bikini-clad appearance as Honey Rider in the first James Bond movie Dr. No (1962), a role for which she was paid 10,000 dollars. Within a year, Andress was sharing billings with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Four for Texas, and Elvis Presley in Fun in Acapulco (both 1963); she also posed for a now much-sought-after nude layout in Playboy magazine. After this her burst of super-celebrity, Andress settled into a series of increasingly humdrum films. During the making of 1981's Clash of the Titans, she linked up with the film's much younger leading man Harry Hamlin, who became the father of her child. Although Andress continued to make movies in the 1980s and '90s. In 1985 she appeared as Marie Antoinette in Liberte, Egalite, Choucroute, and the next year she was cast in the made-for-TV biopic Peter the Great. A late-career highlight was her appearance in Matthew Barney's ongoing Cremaster project.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Speaks German, French, Italian and English.
- German-diplomat father disappeared without a trace during World War II.
- Was the first Bond Girl, starring in 1962's Dr. No.
- Speaking voice in Dr. No was dubbed by German-British voice actress Nikki van der Zyl due to Andress' heavy accent. Diana Coupland provided her singing voice.
- Posed nude for Playboy in 1965.
- Iconic bikini she wore in Dr. No was auctioned in London for 35,000 pounds in 2001.