Martine Beswick

Martine Beswick

Beswick was born on 26 September 1941 in Port AntonioJamaica to Ronald Stuart Davis Beswick, a British father and Myrtle May (néePenso, 1912-2017) a Portuguese-Jamaican mother.

Beswick, her sister Laurellie (1943-2002) and her mother moved to London in 1954 following the separation of her parents. In 1955, she left high school to work to help support her family.

Beswick is best known for her two appearances in the James Bond film series. Although she auditioned for the first Bond film Dr. No, she was cast in the second film From Russia with Love as the fiery gypsy girl, Zora. She engaged in a “catfight” scene with her rival Vida (played by former Miss Israel Aliza Gur). She was incorrectly billed as “Martin Beswick” in the title sequence.  Beswick then appeared as the ill-fated Paula Caplan in Thunderball. She had been away from the Caribbean so long that she was required to sunbathe constantly for two weeks before filming, to look like a local.

Beswick went on to appear in One Million Years B.C. opposite Raquel Welch, with whom she also engaged in a catfight. She then appeared in various Hammer Studio low-budget films, most notably Prehistoric Women and the gender-bending Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, in which she played the titular villainess. She played Adelita in the well-regarded Spaghetti WesternA Bullet for the General (1966) opposite Klaus Kinskiand Gian Maria Volonté. She starred as the Queen of Evil in Oliver Stone‘s 1974 directorial debut Seizure, or Queen of Evil. In the 1970s, Beswick moved to Hollywood and regularly appeared on both the big and small screens. She made numerous guest appearances on television series, including Sledge Hammer!Fantasy IslandThe Fall GuyMannixThe Six Million Dollar Man and Falcon Crest. In 1980, she played the lead role in the comedy film The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.

Beswick’s career was active well into the 1990s. Since then, she has mainly participated in film documentaries, providing commentary and relating her experiences on the many films in which she has appeared. She owned a removals business in London, but is now semiretired except for her guest appearances at international Bond conventions.

In April 2013, she was one of 12 Bond Girl celebrity guests in an episode of the BBC‘s Masterchef.

Beginning with Melvin and Howard (1980), she changed the spelling of her last name to “Beswicke”, but reverted to her original name in the mid-1990s; her last credit with the longer spelling is Wide Sargasso Sea (1993).

After a 24 year absence from the screen, Beswick came out of retirement in 2018 to star in House of the Gorgon opposite fellow Hammer film stars Caroline MunroVeronica Carlson, and Christopher Neame.

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