There’s a formula to every James Bond movie that includes guns, car chases, fight scenes, and beautiful women who Bond tries to seduce at every turn. These “Bond Girls” have become infamous to the legendary series and the role has launched the careers of many well-known actresses.
Halle Berry, Denise Richards, and Rosamund Pike are just a few of the names who have been able to turn the publicity they received from being a Bond Girl into a successful career. The “honor” of being one is bestowed upon few, but the “Bond Girl Curse” buried lots of careers before they even began. These are the actresses who have been able to lift that curse and carve their own path in the entertainment industry.
You might know about Teri Hatcher from her part on Desperate Housewives, but before she became a staple on one of TV’s biggest dramas, she was a Bond Girl. She took on the role of Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies.
She had a few small roles after Bond, but as I mentioned, she became a household name after she secured the lead role as Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives, which remains iconic and successful to date.
She played Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye and it shot her onto the world stage in a role that would become synonymous with Pierce Brosnan’s Bond debut, which was nothing short of stellar.
Famke Janssen was a sadistic assassin who gunned down innocent lab technicians. She went on to establish a decent career as she played Dr. Jean Grey in the X-Men series. She also played Liam Neeson’s spirited ex-wife in the Taken trilogy and starred in the Netflix series Hemlock Grove.
For many young people, and a more modern audience, Diana Rigg is known for spitting out witty, stinging clap backs in Game of Thrones as Lady Olenna Tyrell. But, before that, she shot to fame in the 1960s when she played Tracy Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
She was a secret agent on TV’s The Avengers and has been in a string of motion pictures including Evil Under The Sun, Julius Cesar, and The Great Muppet Caper, just to name a few.
Most die-hard James Bond fans didn’t love the addition of Quantum of Solace into the Bond franchise. Olga Kurylenko played as Camille Montes, a Russian-Bolivian agent who went undercover to find General Madrano.
Before Bond, she only had small roles in French films, but after Bond, she was popping up in movies such as Centurion, To The Wonder. Her biggest role outside of the Bond franchise was in Tom Cruise’s sci-fi Oblivion. She’s still young and holds a very bright future in the entertainment industry.
Michelle Yeoh is widely considered to be one of the most memorable Bond Girls of all time. She was a Chinese secret agent Wai Lin and was the major star in Tomorrow Never Dies. She was a huge star in her home country of Malaysia and Hong Kong but this was her first American exposure.
She garnered roles as a martial artist in the Oscar-nominated film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and got a role in Danny Boyle’s underrated sci-fi Sunshine.
Halle Berry is the only Bond Girl to be an incumbent Oscar winner at the same time she was in a James Bond film. She was one of Pierce Brosnan’s girls in Die Another Day while also taking home the Best Actress award for Monster’s Ball.
She had great performances in Cloud Atlas, The Call as a trauma-suffering emergency calls operator, and Extant as an astronaut in a mission gone awry. It’s safe to say that Halle Berry has more than exceeded her expectations.
Denise Richards has made quite a name for herself, not only because she had a tumultuous marriage to Charlie Sheen, but also because she’s a very talented actress. She shot to fame after her role as Bond Girl Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough in 1999.
Since then, she’s starred in Undercover Brother, Blue Mountain State, Valentine, and is a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, now in its ninth season.
Eva Green was a bonafide star in her native France before taking the role of Vesper Lynd in the semi-reboot of Casino Royale. It was this role that propelled her into the mainstream in the biggest film market in the world.
She played Franklyn, a vengeful witch in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, and Vanessa in Showtime’s horror series Penny Dreadful. She continued to be a powerhouse that landed a bunch of roles both big and small and is still continuing to grow as an actress.
Gemma Arterton’s career had a huge boost when she took on the role of Strawberry Fields, an MI6 agent assigned to look after Bond in Quantum of Solace.
Just after the movie was released, she got supporting roles in the Clash of the Titans and Prince Of Persia before taking roles in Byzantium and The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Her career is only beginning to take off so it will be exciting to see where she goes next.
Sophie Marceau is a French actress, director, screenwriter and author who entered mainstream success in her role in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. She played a villainess Bond Girl named Elektra King which she got in part because of her role in Braveheart just a few years earlier.
She has since acted in the murder-film Trivial, she played a single mother in LOL (Laughing Out Loud) and teamed up with Monica Bellucci in Don’t Look Back. She spends most of her time writing and directing nowadays.
Goldfinger from 1964 is probably one of the most memorable Bond films of all time. Shirley Eaton played a huge part in the success of the movie by being nude and covered in gold during a scene.
She played Jill Masterson, one of the most iconic Bond Girls, and then would go on to star in The Naked Brigade, Ten Little Indians, and The Girl From Rio, just to name a few of her works. Many of her films have turned into cult movies that still carry quite the following.
Joanna Lumley is a British icon but many forget that she was a Bond Girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Her character doesn’t even have a name, she just goes by “English Girl” even though she had a vital role in the movie as one of the Angels of Death.
After Bond, she took the lead in TV’s The Avengers and Sapphire and Steel, which showed her butt-kicking action side. She then took on the role of Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous which is one of the roles she’s best known for.
Rosamund Pike was just starting her career when she took the role of being the icy Miranda Frost at the tender age of 21. It didn’t take her much time to transition from drama school to the real world. Following her performance as an MI6 agent, her career blossomed.
She played Johnny Depp’s aristocratic wife in The Libertine. Pike became an A-lister after she starred in the critically acclaimed movie Gone Girl as Amy Dunne. It landed her an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
Lana Wood has more than 20 films and over 300 television series appearances to her credit and much of it can be thanks to her role as Plenty O’Toole in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.
After that, she starred in hits like The Fugitive, Mission: Impossible, Starsky & Hutch, Capitol, Nero Wolfe, Captain America, Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Speedtrap and her last film in 1982 was Satan’s Mistress. Her elder sister was film star Natalie Wood.
Jill St. John
Jill St. John began acting on the radio at the age of six and made her first screen debut in 1949 at age nine. But, it wasn’t until she got the role of Tiffany Case, the Bond Girl in the film Diamonds Are Forever, that she became more mainstream.
She played opposite Sean Connery and was the first American at the time to play a Bond Girl. She would go onto appear in Around the World in 80 Days, Something to Believe In, Magnum P.I., and Come Blow Your Horn opposite of Frank Sinatra, which won her a Best Actress award.
Jane Seymour is an English actress who is best known for her performances in Somewhere in Time, East Of Eden, War and Remembrance, Wedding Crashers, and of course as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
She’s an Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire as well. But, most people are unaware that she first became mainstream as a Bond Girl in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die.
In 2006, Ivana Milicevic starred in Casino Royale, which was her first big movie after only getting small parts in TV guest spots. After Bond, she was cast as Lena in Ugly Betty, she starred in Witness Protection, and has been seen in TV shows House, Friends, Hawaii Five-0 and had a regular role on the HBO series The Mind of the Married Man.
She’s married to the lead guitarist in the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which is the band that’s led by Jared Leto.
Grace Jones played May Day in the James Bond film A View to Kill in 1985. She played Zorin’s lover and chief henchwoman. She seemingly possessed superhuman strength, and was the first black woman to play a Bond Girl.
It was that appearance that began to get the wheels spinning on her career. She would go on to have a successful music and film career. She starred in Vamp, Cyber Bandits, Wolf Girl, Beastmaster and Chelsea on the Rocks.
Margaret Nolan starred as Dink in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Her small role in the massive film ended up opening a lot of doors for her professionally. She was in Playboy and then cast in Carry On Girls, the police drama The Sweeney, and The Power of Three (which was filmed in 2011 and is the last thing she acted in.)
She also could be spotted in Three Rooms in Manhattan, Carry On Cowboy, Tomorrow, and Sky Bandits.
Eunice Gayson starred in the first two James Bond films, Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Gayson played Bond’s love interest, Sylvia Trench. Gayson is considered the very first Bond Girl.
She acted in a few little ditties before Bond, but she became a well-known name after the first two movies dropped. She recently passed away in 2018 at the age of 90 and it marked a sad day for any diehard James Bond fan.