Ursula Andress, The
first Bond girl collects many fine antiques
By Mike McLeod
The new James Bond movie,
Die Another Day, debuted not long ago, and starring alongside Pierce
Brosnan will be the new Bond girl, Halle Berry. Ms. Berry is the
current beauty among a bevy that all started with Ursula Andress and
her famous exit from the sea in Dr. No.
Ms. Andress is a great
collector. I spoke with her by phone when she flew in from Rome for
her son's graduation from college. While there, she was heading for
the antique shops in Fredericksburg, Va.
Here is our
What do you
Ursula Andress: "Everything
that's beautiful. A lot of things. Collecting is my joy; it gives me
great satisfaction. When I go to a country, I go to flea markets,
antique stores. I am always looking for something. It's easy to walk
in an antique store, and even if you have $20,000 to buy an item,
you still try to get a good price. I collect furniture, rugs,
paintings, frames. I like to look. It's my hobby to go around to
shops and markets.
"If I don't have room for
an item, I put it in warehouses. I'm waiting to have a big castle or
country home to put all of my collection in. I have an attic full of
stuff in my friend's house in Virginia.
"My home is the world. I
live a little in Spain, the U.S., Italy and Switzerland, and I
collect from all over the world-Shanghai, in the Andes, Kuala
Lumpur, Hungary, Romania. I go to antique and flea markets in the
old quarters of the cities. Pottery, paintings, china, English
furniture, rosewood, empire furnitureI have a chest of drawers with
a desk in it. "
How did you get
UA: " I have always collected. I
wanted to be a decorator. I wanted to interior design homes and do
Do you have a
favorite piece in your collection?
UA: "Everything is a
piece of me, a moment of my life. Once, a big pair of Venetian lions
was stolen from me. They were life-size, polychrome gold leaf on
wood from 16th century Spain. I got them back. I worked on it for 6
months. I tracked them (the thieves) down and found them. Don't take
anything from me because I'll track it down. Collecting is my
You have also
created some collectibles in your time. Your bikini from Dr. No,
which you designed yourself, sold for £35,000 at auction. That's an
impressive price. Were you surprised?
UA: "I thought it
would sell for $150,000, but the auction was after September 11, and
the stock market had gone down."
People in the world
are enthralled with everything James Bond. Do you have any
collectibles from the movie?
UA: "I mostly gave away
what I had."
Which movie that
you've made is your favorite?
UA: "I have no favorite. I
don't go to my movies. I didn't see Dr. No for a year, but I liked
it when I saw it. It was a fun movie. I don't like the Bond movies
now. I hate special effects; everything is done in special effects.
I like the real movies-on islands, an adventure story with some
action, but not action every second."
Who is your
favorite leading man?
UA: "I don't have a favorite. I
have been lucky to work with lovely men-Elvis, Woody Allen twice,
Orson Welles, Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Marcello Mastroianni. I
adored Elvis; he was the kindest man there was. At the beginning, I
was not fond of him. You know, you judge people by what you read
about them. But Elvis was adorable, so sweet, nice, and kind. We
continued to be friends, and I saw him once or twice a year. But he
was a troubled person."
Will we see you on
the big screen in the future?
UA: "I don't have any
movies planned. It's hard to make movies today. They have all
changed to action and violence. That's not my style."
facts about Ursula Andress:
- She was paid $10,000 for
her role in Dr. No.
- Her voice was
over-dubbed in Dr. No (by the woman who was the Istanbul hotel
clerk in From Russia with Love).
- She almost did not get
the role of Honey Ryder in Dr. No-Julie Christie was first
considered for it. (Julie Christy??)
- She was recently voted
the sexiest Bond girl and the scene of her emerging from the sea
was voted the best scene with a Bond girl-by the readers of Hotdog
- She was born in
Switzerland on March 19, 1936.
- She has four sisters and
- She was a co-winner of
the Most Promising Female Newcomer Golden Globe award in 1964,
along with Elke Sommer and Tippi Hedren.
- From 1957 to 1966, she
was married to John Derek, who later married Linda Evans and Mary
Cathleen Collins (who later changed her name to Bo Derek for good
- She has a son with Harry
be deceived by her sultry looks - Swiss-born Ursula Andress is a
fierce and protective collector.
Andress has starred with Dean Martin, Peter O'Toole,
James Mason and many more.
Sean Connery in "Dr. No."
was reportedly so intimidated by Andress' figure that he was afraid
to take his shirt off in front of her.