For some reason I just found myself looking at a collection of pictures of all the Bond girls since 1962. What struck me was how ordinary looking several of them actually were. But most were beautiful, and some of the most beautiful didn't even have the lead female role. Here are my choices for the six most attractive, in order of when their movies came out:
She may be the most iconic of all the Bond girls, having appeared in the very first film, Dr. No, in 1962, and also in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale. Andress, whose German diplomat father disappeared during WWII, had her voice completely dubbed over in Dr. No because of her heavy Swiss-German accent. But that was her real voice, accent and all, you heard in Casino Royale.
The combination of her initial playfulness with Bond and her starkly sexual murder in Goldfinger somehow combined to make her one of the most appealing women in movie history. Eaton retired from acting five years later at age 32 to concentrate on raising a family. She told an interviewer, "A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die."
Mallet played Shirley Eaton's sister who is out for revenge against Goldfinger. Her character, Tilly Masterson, was brisk and imperious with Bond at first, but once she saw what Bond was about, she warmed up. Unfortunately, it was too late for any romance, as she was about to be decapitated by Oddjob's bowler hat. Mallet had tested for the lead role in From Russia With Love but was rejected because of her English accent. After Goldfinger, Mallet turned down all subsequent film offers, partly because acting didn't pay nearly as well as modeling for her.
Part of Paluzzi's sexual appeal seemed to lie in her villainy. As Thunderball's Fiona Volpe, she was one of the few women whom Bond was unable to win over. When they traded barbs after having spent the afternoon in bed it struck the ten-year-old me as just.....so.....cool. Paluzzi had been turned down for the part of Domino, the female lead in the film, but later said that "it was more fun to play a bad girl."
I remember wondering why Beswick didn't have a larger role in Thunderball; she, too, was more attractive than Claudine Auger, who was cast in the lead. I hadn't realized until today that Beswick also played one of the two Gypsy girls who fought each other in that scene in From Russia with Love.
Wayborn had a relatively minor role in Octopussy, but I always thought her far more beautiful than that movie's female lead, Maud Adams. Wayborn, nee Britt-Inger Johansson, was a former Miss Sweden and Miss Scandinavia. She broke several of her toes during the filming of one of the fight scenes in the movie.
This list leaves out some of the most celebrated Bond women, like Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Jill St. John, Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, and Halle Berry. But the six pictured above would be my top choices.
Addendum, next day: Hmm. I seem to have given short shrift to the question of their acting ability. Oh well.