Playboy Retro: Ursula Andress

By Playboy.com Staff

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The original Bond Girl, Ursula Andress turned heads with her 1965 pictorial, shot by then husband, John Derek.


What to say about the original Bond Girl? Ursula Andress turned every head in the western world with her portrayal Honey Rider in Dr. No (the iconic scene of her rising from the water wearing little more than a white bikini has been voted Sexiest Scene in Cinematic History). Little did everyone know that a mere three years after Andress appeared alongside Sean Connery wearing little, she would appear in Playboy wearing nothing at all. The following interview and pictorial, from June 1965, was shot by then husband John Derek (whose subsequent wives have also found their way into our pages) and brought back for your viewing pleasure by Playboy Retro:

She is a creature of classic grace and sensual allure, the quintessence of all that is female and, with virtually no effort on her part, the acknowledged high priestess of that cinematic clan of heavenly bodies: the Sex Goddesses. Her deification began with her first major filmic role opposite Sean Connery in Dr. No and the critics’ praises have ranged from “the most awesome piece of natural Swiss architecture since the Alps” to “the most sensuous and spectacular beauty to grace the screen in years.” But despite the fact that such a blanket encomiums smack of modern press-agentry, this 12-page photographic premiere of the unadorned Ursula – the most extensive pictorial takeout Playboy has ever devoted to any member of the fair gender – clearly proves that all the hyperbole of Hollywood’s professional star makers pales in the bright dimensions (37-22-35) of her own natural appeal. 

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Currently drawing top billing for her portrayal of the title role in She, a Seven-Arts-Hammer production of Rider Haggard’s epic novel, the 26-year-old queen of celluloid sirens was imported from Switzerland ten years ago under contract to Paramount. After a brief stint as a starlet, however, Ursula traded her role as a Hollywood hopeful for that of a dutiful Frau to actor-director John Derek, to whose labor-of-love lensmanship we are indebted for this study of the ultimate in Alpine anatomy. The appearance of the stately Swiss as the bikini-clad companion of Agent 007 marked a happy end to her five long years of cinematic self-exile.

She scoffs at the idea of being dubbed filmdom’s leading sex symbol: “we all have to go through it; it’s the journalists and the studio publicists who build it all up.” She remains aloof to the dazzle of sudden stardom: “You see, I never wanted to be a film star. In fact, I turned down dozens of roles so I could stay with my husband and travel wherever he went. After She, I may never make another picture; and then again I may. Films aren't my whole life; it’s my marriage that must always come first.  

She refused to play the nude scene in the original script of her new film, She, on grounds that” it’s often sexier to keep your clothes on.” Ursula’s reaction to this portfolio, taken while on location in the Philippines: “I’m not against nudity when it is used for a purpose and is done with a maximum amount of taste style and class.”

“She was nice enough to cut her price so I could afford her,” quips director John Derek, who wrote in a part for Ursula in his upcoming Seven Arts production of No Toys For Christmas  a story about a Japanese invasion of the Philippines. ‘being a Swiss mercenary, shes a very smart businesswoman,” says Derek, who admits that Ursula is the film maker’s perfect girl Friday and usually winds up acting as his interpreter (“She speaks German, French, Italian, English and more, for all I know”), secretary, business manager and “you-name-it!” Aware of its star box office attraction’s ambivalence regarding her career, Seven Arts has costarred Ursula in still another of its 1965 releases (What’s New, Pussycat?) in an obvious attempt to get maximum exposure of what one studio mogul likes to refer to as “one of great bodies of the Western world.” Agreed. 


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