This film image released by Sony Pictures shows Naomie Harris in a scene from the film Skyfall. (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
Gloria Hendry made her reputation as a sex symbol in early-70s blaxploitation movies so it makes perfect sense that she would play the first African-American Bond girl in Live and Let Die (1973) which partially takes place in Harlem.
Live and Let Die was the first 007 movie to feature the suave and sophisticated Roger Moore as James Bond. The film also featured the future Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Jane Seymour, as the tarot-card-reading Solitaire.
In the film, Hendry plays Rosie Carver, who at first appears to be a CIA agent sent to assistant James Bond as he investigates Dr. Kananga, a diplomat who is secretly a ruthless drug deal (played by Yaphet Kotto).
Typical for a Bond film of that area, Moore’s secret agent seduces Hendry’s character far too easily and the two team up to take on the bad guys. Live and Let Die has been accused of trafficking in some unfortunate cultural stereotypes. But if viewed as an early-70s time capsule, it’s great fun.
Bond is one step ahead when Carver tries to double cross him. She is revealed to be a tool of the villainous Kananga, who has her killed after she fails to follow orders and murder 007.
In 1985, fashion icon and alternative pop star Grace Jones was tapped to a very different kind of “Bond girl” in Roger Moore’s seventh and final outing as 007 in A View to a Kill
Jones really played up her androgynous and even slightly masculine persona as May Day, a henchwoman for the nefarious Max Zorin (played by a typically over-the-top Christopher Walken).
Jone’s May Day not only trains Zorin in physical combat but appears to be his lover as well. She is totally on board for his plan to flood San Francisco (to maintain his monopoly on microchips…hey, it was the 80s) until he leaves her for dead.
May Day also hops into bed with the always randy James Bond. One of the great things about the series is that the race of 007’s sexual conquests is always treated as a non-factor. He is an equal opportunity ladies’ man.
Ultimately, while A View to a Kill is widely perceived as one of the weakest Bond films (even Moore considers it his worst), Jones more than holds her own. Her performance helped cement her cultural icon status at the time.
Halle Berry was already an Oscar winner and a movie star in her own right when she starred as superspy Jinx alongside Pierce Brosnan in his fourth and final outing as James Bond in 2002’s Die Another Day.
Die Another Day marked the 40th anniversary of the beloved James Bond franchise and the film was packed with references to earlier films in the canon to please the fans. For instance, Berry sported a bikini nearly identical to the one Bond girl Ursula Andress wore in the very first 007 film, 1962’s Dr. No.
Berry’s character “Jinx” was a very different kind of Bond girl. She was a capable secret agent in her own right, who could more than hold her own in a fight and even was one step ahead of 007 from time to time.
Still, as per usual, Berry and the film doesn’t skimp on the sex appeal. She and Brosnan have white hot chemistry together and they get away with some pretty naughty puns that had audiences chuckling back in 2002.
Jinx was so popular (and Die Another Day was such a big hit) that for a while there were rumors of a spin-off film featuring her character. But rumor has it that after Berry’s Catwoman bombed in 2004 those plans were shelved for good.
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British actress Naomie Harris is playing a prominent role in this weekend’s highly-anticipated new James Bond film, Skyfall.
Although her part has been largely shrouded in mystery (early rumors said she would be playing the classic MI6 secretary Moneypenny), the Daniel Craig movie is earning rave reviews and a stellar box office, which should help propel her to international stardom.
Harris is following in the footsteps of a few other actresses who scored coveted “Bond girl” roles over the course of the popular spy series’ 50-year run on the big screen.
Check out this slideshow which highlights these beautiful black actresses who shared the screen with the always debonair 007.