Britt Ekland Young: Then And Now Photos Of The Bond Girl And Horror Icon
Left: Britt Ekland in 'The Wicker Man' (1973). Right: Ekland in 'The Bobo' (1967). Source: IMDB
Swedish bombshell Britt Ekland secured her place in movie history as a gun moll in Get Carter (1971), a pagan temptress in The Wicker Man (1973), and a Bond Girl in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). Her international-celebrity life dates to 1964, when Peter Sellers wooed and wed the unknown actress almost like a mail-order bride. Ekland lived with Rod Stewart in the '70s and married into the Stray Cats in the '80s. Britt Ekland wasn't in the most movies, nor was she in the best ones, but she was a captivating presence on screen and a paparazzi favorite in real life. Early on, Ekland gained attention for her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot, and took inspiration from Ursula Andress -- these are not unattractive role models.
Peter Sellers Fell For Ekland Before He Even Met Her
Ekland was a fledgling actress when comedian Peter Sellers fell in love with her -- after seeing her picture in a newspaper. The first time they met in person came when Sellers knocked on her door at the Dorchester Hotel.
"I was knocked over, absolutely stunned. I couldn't believe it," Sellers recalled. "She was so great. She wore a simple dress and her hair was like sunlight. Unbelievable." Eager to impress her, Sellers took her to Kensington Palace where she met Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Ekland was only 22 at the time and understandably swept off her feet.
Britt Ekland And Peter Sellers Got Married After 10 Days
Unfortunately, it all happened too fast for Ekland to process. Just 10 days after Sellers and Ekland met, they married. More than 1,000 people lined the streets of Guildford to see the freshly wed couple. Naturally, problems loomed on the horizon. Namely, Sellers’ jealousy and a few troubling inclinations. "I thought it was normal to turn someone [a wife] over at six in the morning because he was aroused," said Ekland
Just weeks after their ceremony, Sellers wrote a letter which laid bare his insecurities, "I have a dreadful fear at the back of my mind that you might leave me. I love you so desperately and think you are so absolutely wonderful in every way, that I find it very difficult to understand why you married me. You who are just the most lovely thing in the whole world. What do you see in me? I'm not handsome. I'm not tall. I'm not special in any way.” That’s not just a red flag, it’s a scarlet banner of potential problems.
The Britt Ekland In 'Wicker Man' Is Mostly Britt Ekland
Ekland's most famous scene, in what might be her most famous role, came in the cult classic horror film The Wicker Man. As Willow, Ekland strips down and sings a sexy folk song to Edward Woodward, a chaste detective in the next room over. But what audiences saw wasn't 100% Britt. "For me anything below the waist is private so I was prepared to be topless on film but I would not show my bottom and my agent made that very clear," she told Express. "They brought in a body double one day when I was away from the set. No one told me, neither before nor after it happened. The first I knew about it was when the film came out and then I was in a state of shock. Her [the body double's] bottom was much bigger than mine and she wore a blonde wig that was longer than my own hair. It was ridiculous and I was very upset."
Later, Ekland would be further disappointed when she found out her voice was dubbed throughout the film: "I knew my singing was not so fabulous but I thought my Scottish accent was pretty good. Again, nobody told me so there wasn't much I could say about it."
Britt Ekland Was Inspired By Ursula Andress
By the time she was cast as Mary Goodnight in The Man With The Golden Gun, Ekland was already a star. "At the time it was not important because I had done plenty of films before," she told the Huffington Post. "Bond was just something I wanted to do, I liked the idea of coming out of the sea like Ursula Andress, and being an action woman - in the '60s we just played sex kittens - so at the time it wasn’t important, it was another movie."
Rod Stewart Wore Ekland's Knickers
Ekland learned her lesson with Sellers, "I would never date an actor again because there can only be one face in the mirror." So, of course, she started dating rock star Rod Stewart. However, she did know enough not to jump into marriage with him. Apparently, the musician wore her knickers while he performed. “The pants weren't tight, so you can imagine, performing on stage, it would all be swinging around. So he used to take my knickers and pull them so the package was in place.”
Ekland Married A Stray Cat
Ekland's other famous lovers included Ryan O'Neal, Warren Beatty, George Hamilton, Ted Nugent, John Waite, Dodi Fayed, and John Taylor of Duran Duran. In 1973, she had a son with record executive Lou Adler. In 1984, Ekland married Slim Jim Phantom, drummer for the Stray Cats. He was 23, and she was 42. They have a son together, but split up in 1992.
Ekland Thinks You Should Be Vain
After decades in show business, Ekland learned lessons the hard way and doesn’t mind passing along a few tips. As she says, "Vanity is your greatest friend!" Vanity "is the reason I am not a druggie, I am not an alcoholic and I am not - how do I say without hurting anyone? - overweight. You have to be careful today."
Ekland also cautions women on the dangers of plastic surgery. "I think it's tragic because the one time you really look good is before you're 25. Everyone is altering themselves so they all look older and older and older. And by the time they're 25 they look 35. It's very sad. I've of course played around with plastic surgery but I was after 50 when I did.” She speaks from experience having spent years trying to correct a lip procedure gone wrong.
Today, Ekland enjoys playing grandmother to her grandson and bringing attention to important causes like ALD (adrenoleukodystrophy), a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and adrenal glands.
Tags: Bond Girls | Britt Ekland | Get Carter | Ladies | Peter Sellers | The Man With The Golden Gun | The Wicker Man | Then And Now
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