Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Lockdown Ladies from my Facebook posts: Week Three

Day 15 Ann-Margret

Here is Ann-Margret in cinema's ultimate baby doll nightie in the Dean Martin Matt Helm film Murderer's Row (1966). Martin was a long time friend of hers.  Born Ann-Margret Olsson in Stockholm, she moved to the US when she was five.

I suspect she may be more well known in the US than in Britain where Las Vegas residency doesn't hold the save profile or cachet here but it was in Las Vegas she got her big break, being a dancer and a singer.

Early on, when she still had her natural brunette hair colour (above, aged twenty), she was more known as a pop singer and had a number of albums released.  She carried on recording for the next four decades.

She has had a nearly sixty year film career but, other than Murderer's Row I don't think I have seen any of her films!


Day 16 Dahlia Lavi

Israeli actress Dahlia Lavi (born Lewinbuk, in Palestine) was discovered as a ten year old by Kirk Douglas when he was filming in Israel.  As a result of his help she went to study ballet in Stockholm, getting her first film role there.

After military service she started to appear in a number of European films and  her international film career was helped by the fact hat she spoke six languages. Lord Jim (1865) was supposed to be her big break in Hollywood but the film flopped and she returned to Europe

A series of spy films followed, including The Silencers (1966), The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966), Casino Royale (1967), Nobody Runs Forever (1968) and Some Girls Do (1969).

Her last film was the western Catlow (1971) but she went on to have a successful singing career in Germany, returning to TV, there, briefly, in the nineties.


Day 17 Edwige Fenech

Edwige Fenech was born in Algeria to a Maltese father and a Sicilian mother. She won a beauty contest in France and competed for that country in the Miss Europe competition when she was eighteen.

She moved to Rome and started appearing in films the same year. Most of her films were in the  commedia sexy all'italiana genre and later the giallo horror genre.

In February 1968 she was the centrefold (above) in the February issue of Playmen, Italy's first monthly men's magazine. She appeared in the magazine many times, as she did in nearly all of Italy's later men's magazines, as well as in film and glamour magazines across Europe.

Italian men's magazines were less youth obsessed than those in the UK and US and she carried on posing naked well into her late thirties and still looked fantastic.

Like in most of her films, she was rarely burdened by too many clothes in her magazine appearances.  She became one of the most famous actresses in Italy and later a well known personality and chat show host alongside another Lockdown Lovely, Barbara Bouchet.

I met her once, in Milan, though an aristocratic friend, as we had a friend in common, when I worked in Italy in the late eighties and early nineties. I found her quite charming, although I had no idea who she was at the time as her European fame never really crossed to the English speaking world. 


Day 18 Marie Devereaux

Another lesser known actress today in the impressive shape of English actress and model Marie Devereaux who appeared in the Hammer films The Stranglers of Bombay (1959) ) (from which this still comes) and Brides of Dracula (1960). 

Born Patricia Sutcliffe in North London in 1940, she got into films via modelling; deploying her outrageous teenage figure for photographers like Harrison Marks (the man who invented the term glamour photography) in the late fifties.  

She was also, at this time, one of the famous nude girls appearing in the Windmill Theatre in London where they could take off their clothes but weren't allowed to move by the censors. It's actually quite difficult to find any pictures of her with her clothes on, understandably.

After a number of British films, she travelled to Italy to work as Elizaberth Taylor's stand-in on Cleopatra (1963).  She was due to co-star on another epic, Cassandra's Iliad, starring Marlon Brando but the film was never made. It could have made her a star.

Instead, after Cleopatra she went to Hollywood and did some TV and made two, later, cult films there: Shock Corridor (1963) and The Naked Kiss (1964)

After this she stopped making films, married an American and brought up a family in the US.


Day 19 Honor Blackman

Still best known for her roles in The Avengers and Goldfinger (1964) Honor Blackman had a more than sixty five year film career, with lots of TV roles as well, the last being in 2015, at the age of 89.

She started acting lessons at fifteen and had her first film role in 1947.  Before this, during WW2 she was a motorcycle dispatch rider for the Home Office (above) and maintained her interest in motorbikes.

She remains one of the oldest Bond girls and was thirty eight when Goldfinger was made; five years older than Sean Connery at the time. When she was younger she had studied judo, which certainly helped for her The Avengers and Goldfinger roles.

She appeared as Hera in Jason and the Argonauts (1963) which was filmed during the time she was playing Cathy Gale in The Avengers. She was also in the later Hammer horror To the Devil a Daughter (1976).

Some of her other varied TV appearances include The Saint. Dr Who, Colombo and more recently Hotel Babylon and Casualty.

Vroom! Vroom!

Day 20 Shirley Eaton

Shirley Eaton's golden personification of Jill Masterson in Goldfinger (1964) even got her onto the cover of Life magazine in November 1964. 

Born in Middlesex, she went to a stage school and her first performance was in Benjamin's Britten's Lets's make an opera in 1954. Initially, she was known as a singer more than an actress, although combined the two in variety shows on stage as well as straight films and TV (including the pilot of The Saint).

Here she is in an on set shot of the balcony of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. This was recreated in the studio and Eaton did not travel to Florida. Some years ago I stayed in the Fontainbleau (or Fountain Blue as the Americans insist on calling it) and had a similar balcony but no golden ladies were in sight (only a Canadian one with  a lot of shopping bags).

Goldfinger actually came towards the end of her career and after making two films for Jess Franco based on the Sax Rohmer character of Sumuru (very much a female Fu Manchu), for which she had dark hair, she decided to stop acting and concentrate on bringing up her family.

She appeared in one more film, Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) in a sequence using footage shot for the  earlier Sumuru films which director Jess Franco had inserted without her permission or, indeed, any payment. 


Day 21 Daniela Bianchi

Daniela Bianchi was born in Rome, the daughter of a senior Italian army officer and an aristocratic mother. 

She studied ballet for eight years and wanted to become a ballerina but her figure developed in very un-ballet like ways and she had to give it up. She worked as a model before making her film debut in 1958, at the age of sixteen.

In 1960, as Miss Rome, she was runner up in the Miss Universe competition (Runner up? Seriously?) but did win the most photogenic prize.  Here she is second from the right.

She beat two hundred other women to get her role as Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love (1963) including other Lockdown Lovelies, Tania Mallet (later to appear in Goldfinger), Magda Konopka, and Sylva Koscina.

She is still the youngest actress to play the principal Bond Girl (at twenty-one) and the only Italian actress to play the main Bond Girl.  She didn't make a lot of films and retired in 1968 to marry a shipping magnate.


Again, I counted the number of likes each lady got and tied at 13 was Marie Devereaux and Dahlia Lavi. Also tying were Shirley Eaton and Edwige Fenech on 12 each.

Seven more Lockdown Lovelies soon!


  1. Another excellent selection - Miss Fenech was completely new to me. My particular favourite would be Miss Lavi, not least for her gorgeous husky voice! There were many beautiful women in Casino Royale but, for me, she edged it.