The hypnotic beauty of Ursula Andress – she still looks great at 86

Ursula Andress is one of the most stunning women that God ever created. In my mind, she’s unmatched to this day as the most beautiful Bond girl – despite being the very first.

The charismatic actress rose to amazing heights after starting her career in 1945 – and she’s still very artistic even now.

Today, the 86-year-old icon lives a quiet life, but she looks as gorgeous as ever…

Swiss actress Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in a scene from the James Bond film ‘Dr. No’, 1962. (Getty Images)

There have been a lot of good-looking women to appear in the James Bond franchise, but it’s hard to top the beauty of Ursula Andress – she was absolutely spectacular in Dr. No.

The Swiss-German actress, who retired in 2005, became known all over the world as the iconic shell diver Honey Ryder – Sean Connery’s love interest in the first-ever Bond film (1962). When she came up out of the water in that James Bond movie, Connery wasn’t the only one who gasped, let me tell you…

“It was a big moment for me,” Ursula once told the Sunday Post. “I think that simple bikini made a complete difference to my career. It made me into a success.

“I had made a few movies before then but nothing had the impact of that scene in Dr No.”

Ursula was born into a family with seven siblings. Her mother was from Switzerland and her dad, Rolf Andress, was a German diplomat. As a teenager, Ursula was restless and at 17, she ran away to Italy with a male actor.

It was in Italy that Ursula would be discovered.

“In Rome any girl with blonde hair—well, the Italians approach you on the street and they throw all kinds of fits and right away they say, ‘You must be in pictures. You must.’ So I somehow wound up in films,” Ursula once said.

Actress Ursula Andress circa 1965 / Archive Photos/Getty Images

The young woman wanted to be an actress and was able to land minor roles in Italian movies. Before long, Ursula caught the eye of Paramount Pictures and moved to the United States. After crossing the Atlantic, she eventually met James Dean. They dated for a while, shortly before the actor’s death. 

After that, Ursula met up-and-coming star John Derek, best known for playing opposite Humphrey Bogart in Knock on Any Door. They fell in love at first sight and married in Las Vegas in 1957. Derek, who was a married father at the time, left his family to be with the 19-year-old Ursula. 

”He taught me how to be a woman,” she said in 1986. “I knew nothing of the world before him. I was still a child and he taught me how to love. It was a beautiful relationship.”

The marriage to Derek was the only reason why Ursula remained in Hollywood. Unfortunately, her contact with Paramount did not bring her any film roles, meaning she was more or less unemployed.

Wikipedia Commons / Mandadori Publishers

”I spent most of my time watching old Marlene Dietrich movies,” she told columnist James Bacon in 1963.

There were occasions when rumors circulated suggesting that she would star opposite her famous husband – but it never materialized.

Then, in the early 1960s, she finally got her chance on the big screen. And it wasn’t just any role – Ursula had landed the opportunity to play the first ever Bond girl.

As bikini-clad Honey Ryder, she captivated audiences, becoming an international sex symbol. The scene when she emerges from the Caribbean sea wearing a white bikini and a large diving knife on her hip became instantly iconic.

“We picked her picture out of a pile of rejects. She was dripping wet, and she looked beautiful. So we made a deal for her. When I got to Jamaica for the filming, there was this beautiful creature. I knew then that she was the type of girl we should use for future leading ladies,” producer Albert Broccoli recalled.

In some ways, Ursula represented a new type of female sex symbol. She wasn’t the typical hourglass curvy woman that was popular back in the day – but a slim, sporty woman with attitude.

Ursula Andress and Sean Connery in a scene from ‘Dr. No” directed by Terence Young. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Many may have yet to learn that Ursula was dubbed in that project – voice actor Nikki van der Zyl did the dialogue. The famous bathing suit was sold at auction in 2001 – a buyer paid around $50,000 for the ivory-white two-piece. 

Needless to say, the role of Honey Ryder changed Ursula’s life forever. Even today, she’s the yardstick by which all Bond girls are measured.

“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.”

Ursula and Sean Connery became good friends after the iconic movie and kept in touch after Dr. No. When the Scottish actor died in 2020, Ursula was one of the first to share what she really thought about her co-star.

”He was a great man. Today, such men no longer exist, they are all too narcissistic, too absorbed in themselves. Someone like Sean is hard to find today. He was a great friend and a fabulous actor,” she said.

Dating Elvis?

The 1960s was a prosperous time for the blonde beauty. In 1963, Ursula starred opposite Elvis Presley as the female lead in Fun in Acapulco.

Rumors of a romance between Ursula and Elvis immediately began to swirl – and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was obviously very impressed by his gorgeous co-star.

According to people close to Elvis, though, “nothing happened” between the two actors.

Elvis Presley with Ursula Andress & Elsa Cárdenas in Fun in Acapulco (1963)

In Pricilla Presley’s book, Elvis and Me, she recalled what Elvis had to say about Ursula and his feelings towards her. Priscilla said that Elvis thought Ursula had a ”body like a man” with no hips, and shoulders broader than his.

”I was embarrassed to take my goddam shirt off next to her,” Elvis said.

“I was surprised to hear how Elvis was talking about Ursula Andress, the alluring sex goddess of Dr. No. ‘Wasn’t she pretty?’ I asked. ‘Pretty?’ he snickered. ‘Hell, she had a bone structure so sharp, it could cut you in half if you turned too fast,’ Priscilla shared.

In 1967, Ursula appeared in the Bond satire Casino Royale. The movie was a huge box office success, and according to London Life, Ursula was paid $240,000 for playing the part of the goddess-mode gorgeous Vesper Lynd.

Flickr / Raoul Luoar

The striking beauty had a smoldering presence, both off and on screen.

”I don’t think I have ever met someone who was so universally loved by everyone in a studio. They’d all do anything for her and this is really quite something. One day someone is going to get the real Ursula on the screen in a comedy and she’s going to astound everybody. The trouble is that she’s so tense,” Val Guest, who directed Ursula in Casino Royale, said.

In the 1970s, Ursula shifted focus and starred in several action films. She was also pretty active on television, and in the 1980s, she appeared in the soap opera Falcon Crest. Sadly, she often ended up being typecast. Filmmakers wanted her as most a sexy but cold blonde bombshell – but that wasn’t necessarily Ursula’s wish.

Flickr / John Irving

These days, she’s taken a step back from acting. Ursula’s last acting credit is from 2005, when she played “Madonna” in the low-budget movie Die Vogelpredigt.

However, the former star is still very artistic. She loves to paint and remains a passionate photographer.

”I am much more into art these days, it has always been a first love,” she told The Sunday Post in 2018.

”I like photography too and my photographs have been published in a number of international magazines. I am very proud of that because I have always liked to be creative.”

Today, the 86-year-old actress splits her time between her apartment in Rome and her house in Switzerland. She prefers to speak Italian, and hasn’t ruled out a comeback on the silver screen.

“I have retired, really, but do you ever retire?” she told The Sunday Post. “I still get offers and sometimes I am tempted but I have to recognize I am not a young girl any more—although I am in spirit.”

Wikipedia Commons

Hot romances

As a young and beautiful teen, Ursula wasn’t allowed anywhere near boys.

Her parents wanted to protect her, but the Swiss beauty revealed that she lost her virginity to married French actor Daniel Gelin in 1953, when she was 17 and he was 32.

Ursula Andress as she appears in the new movie ‘The Tenth Victim.’

Over the years, Ursula has had plenty of hot romances.

She has been romantically involved with stars like Dennis Hopper, James Dean, Gerardo Amato and Julio Iglesias.

Her marriage to John Derek ended in 1964 when Ursula left Derek to live with major French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo. The couple were together for almost eight years. According to Ursula, Jean-Paul was the love of her life.

”I was unfaithful to my husband because of my love for Jean-Paul. It is the only time I have been unfaithful to the man I loved, and I wouldn’t do it again,” she told New Straits Times in 1986. 

Ursula Andress with actor Harry Hamlin arrive to the 54th Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles,California. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

”He (Jean-Paul) was the most passionate, desirable man in the world. He was sensational, incredible, fantastic. With him, I discovered worlds I never knew existed”. 

While filming Clash of the Titans in 1979, Ursula met actor Harry Hamlin. He was 15 years her junior, but that didn’t matter – Ursula and Harry fell in love almost immediately. The couple never married, but welcomed a son in 1980.

Ursula was 44 when she gave birth to her son, Dimitri Alexander Hamlin. In 1983, Ursula and Hamlin broke up. According to news reports at the time, it was Hamlin who left Ursula to focus more on his career. Ursula stayed in Los Angeles to raise their son Dimitri.

Today, Dimitri is all grown up, and has followed in his parent’s footsteps. The 43-year-old has tried it all: acting, modeling, and appearing in music videos.

After splitting up with Hamlin, Ursula dated many handsome men – including Brazilian football star Paulo Roberto Falcão.

In the 1990s, she had a brief relationship with martial arts expert Jeff Speakman, but Ursula hasn’t been publicly linked with anyone since.


What a true legend and charismatic beauty! Not only beautiful, but also a very intelligent woman.

Ursula Andress was by far the most elegant Bond girl – share this article on Facebook if you agree!