Andress's "Dr No" bikini goes under the hammer

Ursula Andress wearing the famous bikini in the Bond film "Dr No".

The garment that catapulted Switzerland's most famous actress, Ursula Andress, to fame has been sold at an auction on St Valentine's Day for SFr98,700.

This content was published on February 15, 2001 minutes

On Wednesday, the white bikini worn by the Bern-born actress in the 1962 James Bond film "Dr No" was sold at Christie's auction house in London.

"Christie's kept on asking me if I was interested in selling it," the 64-year-old actress told swissinfo. "Finally last year I found it in a girlfriend's attic in Virginia, and I told Christie's I would bring it to Europe and give it to them."

Andress shot to fame when she emerged from the sea wearing the ivory bikini in what was the first official Bond film.

As the delightfully named character, Honey Ryder, Andress became the quintessential Bond heroine. She was the first in a long succession of beautiful women who have come to be known as "Bond Girls".

But Andress came very close to not accepting the role in Dr No with the then unknown Scottish actor, Sean Connery.

"I can't believe the success of Bond," she said. "I doubted very much [that the films] would be so popular."

She told swissinfo that she decided to do the film after Kirk Douglas and her husband read the script. "Kirk came round to my house and with my husband read the script aloud. They said, 'Oh, no one is ever going to see this'.

But I thought a little English film in Jamaica with Sean would be a way of making my debut, and Sean was not known then either... We were lucky. It caught on - it was the right moment, the right place, probably."

Since Honey Ryder, there have been over 40 "Bond Girls", among them the equally splendidly named characters of Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead and Xenia Onatopp.

swissinfo with agencies

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