Eunice Gayson was the first Bond when she appeared in Dr No as 007’s girlfriend Sylvia Trench in 1962, and she reprised the role for From Russia With Love the following year.
Her opening scene with Sean Connery, set across the gaming tables of Les Ambassadeurs Club in London, has since gone down in film history and her prompting Sean to deliver the most famous line in the movies, ‘Bond, James Bond’ gives Eunice a very special place in our celluloid history.
In her autobiography she talks about landing the Bond role, through her earlier association with Terence Young; about her friendship with Sean Connery, who she knew before Bond through her first husband who had employed him on a film; the wardrobe problems on her first day when she ‘blended in with the wallpaper’ and of how Sean Connery was so wracked with nerves he couldn’t deliver the famous line ... until that is Eunice had taken him for a liquid lunch in the Pinewood restaurant. These and many other stories are hilariously related in The First Lady Of Bond.
Of course, by 1962, Eunice had already become one of the first reality TV stars in the world, having married her first husband live on American television, and had carved out a very successful career in film and TV with leading men including Roger Moore, Patrick McGoohan, Patrick MacNee, Victor Mature, Michael Wilding, Peter Cushing and legendary comedy performers The Goons (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine).
She had been contracted by the Rank Organisation, becoming their highest paid actress – though she never made a single film for them; resulting in her tearing up her contract a year later under threat of being sued from the film studio.
At the height of her fame she co-starred in a record-breaking run of The Sound of Music in London’s West End but when her second marriage fell apart and work dried up she was arrested for shoplifting.
Bouncing back, Eunice busied herself with TV and theatre roles along with caring for her new daughter Kate – who herself became an actress and followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a Bond girl in GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan.
Despite a formidable all round career, it is Bond that really features most prominently in Eunice’s life and even today she travels the world, most recently to Hollywood, to talk about the films at festivals and conventions.
This is the inside story on some of the best-loved films ever made, and how the original Bond girl came back from the depths of despair.
This special limited edition is not available in the shops or through on-line retailers; it evokes the title design of Dr No and indeed ties in with the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film premiering and of Eunice’s legendary screen appearance. It is exclusively available through this website or at a personal appearances.
Please Note: Books are flat-signed and undedicated.
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