James Bond and women go hand-in-hand; they are his biggest vice, and one of his best-known too. Give him a beautiful woman and a “shaken, not stirred” martini and the cameras will fade out suggestively to allow for a tumble beneath the sheets. Over the Bond movie series, some of the most seductive, beautiful women in the film business have portrayed his various love interests and have skyrocketed their careers in the process.
From Swiss siren Ursula Andress way back in 1962’s Dr No to the most recent French fox Bérénice Marlohe in 2012’s Skyfall, there’s been over 50 years’ worth of ladies stepping into the shoes of the British secret agent’s lover. Each and every Bond girl has her loyal and dedicated fan base and many of them have proved a tough act to follow.
Aside from their smouldering sensuality and seductiveness, the Bond girls tend to have rather unusual names. From Honey Ryder to May Day to Pussy Galore, these girls are just as mysterious as their names. We’ve trawled through the 50 years of Bond films to bring you the ten richest Bond girl actresses who have appeared alongside the main man throughout the film series as well as forming solid Hollywood careers all their own. Is your favourite gal going to make the cut?
10. Grace Jones: $7 million
Jamaican beauty Grace Jones is probably more famous for her crazy fashion sense and her music than her acting but she did appear as the very feisty May Day in 1985’s A View to a Kill. Jones grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, but moved to Syracuse, New York, with her family in her early teens. The move turned out to be just what her career needed. She was spotted by her professor at Syracuse University and he convinced her to accompany his to Pennsylvania to star in a play. After her return to New York, she was scouted by a modelling agency which saw her star soar.
Jones’ singing career kicked off the in the 1970s in earnest. She successfully transitioned into acting, a notoriously difficult move. Her profile by the mid-1980s was high, which no doubt helped her land the role of May Day for A View to a Kill alongside Roger Moore (this was to be his last time to step into the tux as James Bond).
9. Gemma Arterton: $8.5 million
English actress Gemma Arterton took on the role of Strawberry Fields in 2008’s Quantum of Solace alongside Daniel Craig. She was the secondary Bond girl in the film; the more prominent being Olga Kurylenko as Camille Montes. This didn’t stop the charming 007 from seducing his colleague Fields, too, though.
Gemma has enjoyed success in several films in her short career. She starred in Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to name a few. Her performance as Strawberry Fields was no easy task. On her first day on set she had to film her death scene (drowning in crude oil) by being covered in black paint. A lot of these women Bond seduces seem to have ill fate after meeting the secret agent!
8. Jill St. John: $10 million
Jill St. John was the lucky girl selected for the role of Tiffany Case in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. She was the first American to be cast as a Bond girl and the role, considered her breakthrough, remains her most famous.
She took on the role of Tiffany alongside the original Bond, Sean Connery, to mixed reviews. The film was to be Connery’s last turn as Bond. A string of films followed in St. John’s career and, in typical Hollywood style, four marriages. Aside from her marriages, she also dated not one, but TWO Bond actors – her co-star Sean Connery and George Lazenby.
7. Eva Green: $10 million
Eva Green’s critically acclaimed performance as Vesper Lynd in Daniel Craig’s Bond debut, Casino Royale (2006) earns her a deserved spot on our list.
Green actually turned down the role before later accepting it; realising Lynd had more depth than most Bond girls – in what turned out to be a wise move that was for the young French actress. She was widely praised for her role, bringing intelligence as well as sexuality to the role. Craig, too, was commended for reinventing the character of Bond.
6. Denise Richards: $12 million
To some, she is famous as Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife, but Denise Richards’ career has earned her the number 6 spot on our list. She starred as Christmas Jones in the 1999 Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.
Richards’ role as a Bond girl received some criticism from fans of the franchise. Though most Bond girls receive criticism from feminist commentators, Richards was considered an extreme in this regard: her character’s outfit of a tight tank top and shorts was seen as highly irregular for Christmas’ job (a nuclear physicist – how The Big Bang Theory boys would swoon!).
Despite negative reviews for her overly-sexualised Bond girl appearance, Richards’ career has gone on to leave her comfortably wealthy with $12 million in her bank account. Who gets the last laugh, eh?
5. Teri Hatcher: $50 million
Teri Hatcher has taken on an impressive number of successful roles in her almost 30 years as an actress. She was cast as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies alongside Pierce Brosnan and was three months pregnant when filming!
Hatcher gained her initial fame as Lois Lane in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the early 1990s and just as the series was ending she stepped into the Bond Girl shoes. Hatcher later expressed regret for accepting the role, stating she felt it was an “artificial kind of character to be playing”.
She later experienced financial difficulties before landing the role of Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives. She almost didn’t get the job – it was initially offered to Courteney Cox who had reservations about entering into another television series after Friends ended.
4. Halle Berry: $60 million
American beauty Halle Berry comes in at number 3. After being cast as Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson alongside Pierce Brosnan in 2002’s Die Another Day, Berry became infamous for that orange bikini scene – a nod to the famous ocean scene with Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder in Dr No (1962).
Berry’s career was peaking at the time of her tenure as a Bond girl. Just the previous year she had won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Monster’s Ball. She had also experienced great success portraying Storm in the X Men movies before she took on the role of the feisty Jinx.
Berry has widely been recognised as an international sex symbol aside from her acting talent, which no doubt helped in her casting alongside Brosnan. Her film work and endorsements have left her with the comfortable sum of $60 million to her name.
3. Jane Seymour: $70 million
Opening our top 3 is Jane Seymour, the English actress who starred in Live and Let Die in 1973. Born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, she took on the name Jane Seymour after Henry VIII’s third wife of the same name. Quite fitting really, seeing as she has a bank balance most royals would be proud of and has an Order of the British Empire (OBE)!
For Seymour, her role as Solitaire alongside Roger Moore was her breakthrough. She was just 22 years old at the time of the film’s release and has since appeared in many lists as a favourite Bond girl of the series’ fans. She was no ‘one hit wonder’ though; Ms Seymour’s acting efforts have earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, two Golden Globes and an Emmy Award!
2. Michelle Yeoh: $245 million
To some, this might be a surprising entry so near to the top spot; but Malaysian actress and stuntwoman Michelle Yeoh‘s career has landed her a massive estimated $245 million in her bank account. Yeoh starred as Wai Lin in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, alongside the first and only Irish James Bond, Pierce Brosnan.
Yeoh first came to prominence at the age of 20, when she won the title of Miss Malaysia and went on to represent her home country in the Miss World pageant. She began acting in 1985 and retired two years later, when she entered an ill-fated marriage. Fast forward to 1992 and Yeoh was back on our screens in a variety of roles. She soon became well-known not only for her acting, but for performing all of her own stunts. Beauty and talent, as well as her marriage to entrepreneur Dickson Poon, have bulked up Yeoh’s bank balance.
1. Madonna: $645 million
Madonna may be best known for her singing but she takes the top spot for her cameo as the sexy fencing instructor, Verity, in Die Another Day. The pop sensation was not the leading Bond girl in the film, and the bulk of her net worth certainly didn’t come from this role, but nevertheless Madonna’s turn as a feisty Bond screen queen earns her the top spot.
Not only did she perform in her cameo role but she also lent her vocals to the title track of the film. Die Another Day was a departure from the more traditional Bond songs, with a dance-pop vibe, but it managed to land Madonna nominations for the Grammys and Golden Globes (though the song was also nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award – and Madonna’s acting won her the Golden Raspberry for Worst Supporting Actress).
The majority of Madonna’s wealth, of course, comes from her singing career, dating as far back as the 1980s, and she continues to reinvent herself while releasing hit albums. Her career spans four decades so her wealth of $645 million is well earned!