Bond Girls: A Scholars’ Spotlight (Part 7)


In part seven of our ongoing Bond Girl series, we head back to the Sean Connery era. This installment features biographies on Karin Dor (You Only Live Twice), Martine Beswick (From Russia With Love and Thunderball), and Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger). If you are just discovering this series of articles for the first time please Click Here for Part 1.

Martine Beswick

Martine Beswick was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica on September 26, 1941. Her father was English and her mother was Portuguese-Jamaican. In 1954, her parents separated and she moved to London with her mother and sister.
In 1962, Beswick auditioned for the “Photographer” part in Dr. No but missed out on the role. The following year she appeared in From Russia With Love as Zora, the gypsy. The catfight she had in that movie earned her the nickname “Battling Beswick” on the set. Terrance Young, the director of that film enjoyed working with her so much that he cast her as James Bond’s assistant, Paula Caplan, in Thunderball (1965).
Beswick’s first foray into the world of Hammer Films was in One Million Years B.C. (1966) with Raquel Welch. Shot in the Canary Islands, Beswick began a relationship with, and married, the film’s leading man, John Richardson. They divorced in 1973. A second film was planned before this one had even wrapped in order to recycle the costumes and sets. It would star Beswick and be titled Prehistoric Women (1967).

“We took it (Prehistoric Women) seriously insofar as we went at it full tilt, but we knew it wouldn’t be award winning. We had a lot of fun between takes”

– Martine Beswick

In 1967, Beswick and Richardson moved to L.A. and she started to get roles on television throughout the rest of the 1960s, and well into the 1980s, including The Fall Guy, Fantasy Island, Mannix, and The Six Million Dollar Man. She also acted in Oliver Stone’s directorial debut Seizure (1974).
In 1971, Beswick returned to England for a vacation and ended up being cast in Hammer’s Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1972). There was tension on the set of this film as Hammer was pushing for nudity that wasn’t in the script.

“(Director) Roy (Ward Baker) and I stopped speaking for a while and then I turned around and said ‘This is silly, let’s just stop this.’ So I agreed to strip off for the scene where Sister Hyde is revealed”

– Martine Beswick

Beswick eventually moved back to England and essentially retired from acting in the 1990s. She did however appear in a “Bond Girl” episode of Masterchef in 2013, as well as the horror film House of the Gorgon (2018). In this, she appeared alongside other Hammer actresses, Caroline Munro and Veronica Carlson.

Shirley Eaton

Born on January 12, 1937, in Middlesex, England Shirley Eaton and her family soon moved to Kingsbury. It was there that she attended Roe Green Primary School before continuing her education at the Aida Foster Theatre School, a specialist drama school. She remained there until she was sixteen.
At the age of seventeen Eaton made her West End debut in Going to Town. For the remainder of the decade, she was primarily a singing star, both on the stage and on television, culminating in the Eurovision Song Contest competition in 1957. Eaton also appeared in many comedy films during this time including Three Men in a Boat (1956) and Carry on Nurse (1959).
In 1957, Eaton married businessman Colin Lenton Rowe with whom she remained married until his death in 1994. The marriage produced two sons.

“The most important thing for me was being a woman and having a family, more than being a very famous glamorous actress”

– Shirley Eaton

Eaton continued to act throughout the early 1960s with the highlights from that decade including appearances opposite future 007 actor Roger Moore in the popular television series The Saint, as well as her most iconic role as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger (1964).
Following Goldfinger, Eaton’s interest in being in showbiz increasingly waned over the next few years. After appearing in the Bob Hope comedy Eight on the Lam (1967), Eaton took on the role of femme fatale Sumuru, appearing in two films, The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967) and The Girl From Rio (1969), before essentially retiring from acting. 

“After I finished The Million Eyes of Sumuru and was coming home in the plane was when I made the decision to quit. I hated being away from my baby Jason and his brother Grant. However, I did enjoy being the wicked lady Sumuru in two rather bad films, which I had not had the chance to be before. I do believe they have become cult films now”

– Shirley Eaton

Karin Dor

Kätherose Derr was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on February 22, 1938. During her youth, she studied ballet. In her teenage years, she became interested in film and started to get work in German productions that were shooting near her home.
Dor was noticed by Austrian director Harald Reinl, whom she married in 1954 (and divorced in 1968) when she was only sixteen years old. The marriage paved the way for featured appearances in Reinl’s film Der schweigende Engel (1954) and Ihre große Prüfung (1954), where she received top billing.
As Dor matured and her career progressed, she transitioned from more juvenile-centric roles to sexier fare. Most of her films from the early 1960s, including Room 13 (1964), The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962), and Der grüne Bogenschütze (1961), were not seen widely outside of Germany.
In 1965, Dor saw greater exposure to international audiences with the release of The Face of Fu Manchu, which was a British-West German co-production. This film opened the door for Dor’s next two roles, which who be her most well-known.
The first of these roles was in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967) where Dor played the villainous Helga Brandt. Perhaps the most memorable moment from the movie was when she fell into a pool filled with piranha, a stunt she performed herself.
Dor’s other memorable role from that period was in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed Topaz (1969). In this film, she played Juanita de Cordoba, the Cuban mistress of a French agent.
Dor’s time in front of the screen diminished during the 1970s when she appeared in a mere six films that decade. She would make three more appearances in front of the camera after that decade ended. Her last in appearance was in The Misplaced World (2015).
In July 2016, while vacationing in Italy, Dor suffered a fall after being stuck from behind by a stroller. Although she was not diagnosed with a concussion, she suffered severe headaches as a result of the accident. On November 6, 2017, at the age of 79, Dor would die from complications from the fall.

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