Ursula Andress became famous as Honey Ryder, a shell diver and James Bond’s woman of desire in Dr. No (1962), the first Bond movie.
In what became an iconic moment in cinematic and fashion history, she rose out of the Caribbean Sea in a white bikini sporting a large diving knife on her hip. Due to her heavy Swiss-German accent, her character’s voice was provided by Nikki van der Zyl, while the calypso was sung by Diana Coupland.
The scene made Andress a “quintessential” Bond girl. Andress later said that she owed her career to that white bikini: “This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent.”The bikini she wore in the film sold at auction in 2001 for £41,125 ($59,755).
In 2003, in a UK Survey by Channel 4, her entrance in Dr. No was voted #1 in “the 100 Greatest Sexy Moments”.Andress won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1964 for her appearance in the film.
Andress co-starred with Elvis Presley in the 1963 musical film Fun in Acapulco, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 4 for Texas (1963), opposite Marcello Mastroianni in The 10th Victim (1965), alongside John Richardson in She (1965), and as the countess in The Blue Max (1966).
She also appeared in the Bond satire Casino Royale (1967) as Vesper Lynd, an occasional spy who persuades Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, to carry out a mission. Later, she worked with fellow former Bond girls Claudine Auger in Anyone Can Play (1968), Barbara Bach in Stateline Motel (1975), and Luciana Paluzzi in The Sensuous Nurse (1975).
In 1965, she posed nude for Playboy; it would be the first of seven times she was pictured in the magazine over the next fifteen years. When asked why she had agreed to do the Playboy shoot, Andress replied coolly, “Because I’m beautiful.”She went on to appear nude or semi-nude in nearly all of her film roles between 1969 and 1979, earning her the nickname “Ursula Undress.”
Other films from this period of her career include the West African diamond-searching adventure The Southern Star (1969) with George Seagal.
The crime caper Perfect Friday (1970) with Stanley Baker and David Warner, the western Red Sun (1972) with Charles Bronson and Alain Delon, as Joséphine de Beauharnais in the swashbuckling spoof The Loves and Times of Scaramouche (1976) with Michael Sarrazin.
The cult favorite Slave of the Cannibal God (1978) with Stacey Keach, and as Louise de La Vallière in The Fifth Musketeer (1979) with Beau Bridges.
She played Aphrodite in 1981’s Clash of the Titans, where she worked with Laurence Olivier. During the making of the film, Andress linked up with leading man Harry Hamlin, who became the father of her child. In 1982, she portrayed Mabel Dodge in the adventure-drama film Red Bells. On television, she participated in the 1986 Emmy-winning miniseries Peter the Great, and joined the cast of the primetime soap opera Falcon Crest for a three-episode arc in 1988 as an exotic foreigner who assists David Selby in retrieving Dana Sparks from a white slave ring.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, her acting appearances have been rare. In 1995, Andress was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in film history.” Her last role to date was playing “Madonna” in the low-budget 2005 Swiss feature Die Vogelpredigt oder Das Schreien der Mönche(English title: The Bird Preachers).