Website last updated: 8-12-2016

25 APRIL 2011

By: FSWL team
Our friends over at the MI6 website met up with our dear friend Bettine Le Beau who played "Professor Dent's Secretary" in the first James Bond film, Dr No (1962).

Below is the entire interview as Ms. Le Beau kindly accepted it to be re-produced and featured on From Sweden With Love.

MI6: Had you always aspired to be an actress - how did you end up working in television and film?

BETTINE LE BEAU (BLB): I wish I could answer you in the affirmative but I will let you in on a little secret - I am a born show-off. Any platform would have done. My husband Peter Lebow (hence the Le Beau name which I 'frenchified' and even split it in half to add the illusion of grandeur) was in the fashion dress industry and so we were invited to this super grand wedding of one of his friends. I was told that the Press would be in attendance and of course all these beautiful models. To my surprise, the very next day a full-page photograph of me was published in the Daily Mail. This very photograph started me working in television and film.

MI6: How did you win your role in "Dr. No"?

BLB: I managed to get Jean Simmons' theatrical Agent, Aida Foster, and was sent to Pinewood Studios for an audition with many other actresses. I love meeting people and I especially like interviews. So, I chatted away made them smile and I presume they just took a liking to me and gave me a part in the film "Dr. No" - for which I am eternally grateful as I have gained so many wonderful fans. They have literally revived my career at this stage of my life.

MI6: At the time of shooting, did you have any sense of the sensation that the Bond film series would become?

BLB: I don't think that anybody had any idea when shooting the very first of the James Bond films at the huge impact it will have on the audiences. Why is it so successful? Because it has class. The locations are breath-taking, the music score is memorable and of the highest calibre, the hero is suave, sophisticated and as for the ladies they are all beautiful and decorative. The story line is what the public want... the villain is eliminated, the Hero accomplishes his mission and everybody leaves the theatre happy. A most successful formula. Here I must make another confession. I usually don't go for Action films, its more a man's fantasy, but nevertheless I am a devotee of class.

MI6: Before arriving on set, were you familiar with the work of Ian Fleming - Bond's creator - and if so, what did you think of James Bond?

BLB: Before arriving on set I had no idea who Ian Fleming was. I had never read his books for I was always reading about Psychology and Philosophy and had no time for novels. I am not one of these intellectuals but I certainly enjoyed talking and debating on these subjects - and I still do.

MI6: Can you recall the time you first met Sean Connery? What was your first impression and do you have any funny, memorable or favourite stories from working with Sean?

BLB: The thing I remember most vividly is everybody talking on the set about his recent marriage to the beautiful and talented Diane Cilento. She was the adored star nominated for Tony and Academy Awards. He was still considered a newcomer in comparison. I understood how he must feel in this new situation for all actors are proud and sensitive. I thought if I approached him and started a conversation I might talk about my admiration for his wife and that's exactly what he does not want to hear. So that is why I cannot relate of any contact we had except doing the two scenes when he comes in my office to see Professor Dent and then leave.

MI6: Did you spend any time in Jamaica during the shooting of "Dr. No" or was your work done at Pinewood?

BLB: No my role was entirely shot at Pinewood Studios. It would have been indeed exciting to have been in Jamaica.

MI6: After "Dr. No" was released, did you continue to follow the Bond films - did you see "From Russia With Love" or any of the following films and what was your impression of them?

BLB: Not so much as I do now. I see things that I did not pay any attention to before. It has become very personal to me and follow all its news with interest. I want it to go on forever and feel happy that I was part of it from right back in its conception.

MI6: You have also worked on "Danger Man" and "The Prisoner" - could you share some memories of the late Patrick McGoohan?

BLB: Yes I can share some memories of the late and wonderful Patrick McGoohan: let me take you back on set, the crew is busy seeing to the lighting, sound, props etc. We, the cast, are as usual chatting. The conversation was about the star Patrick that did not converse with any of them. Well it so happens that the next day he was just standing at my side when I said to him with a smile of course, "I really don't mind you not talking to me because you don't talk to anybody, so it is not a personal insult." He gave me a look like I was crazy but saw the logic of it and told me that he likes to concentrate on his lines and that is important to him. I nodded that I understood. Well from that day on whenever he caught my eye he gave me a big smile and a nod. No conversation just an acknowledgement. That's a gentleman!

He was devout catholic with high moral values. Happy in his marriage. An exemplary human being.

MI6: In your time on screen, what are some of the most important skills and lessons learned?

BLB: In my time on screen the most important lessons I have learned is that there are two kind of actors. The ones like Peter Sellers, who can forget their identity and immerse themselves in the part they play to such a degree that it even lingers when they come home. I read somewhere that one of Peter Seller's wives said that she hoped his next part will be of a nice placid guy.

The other kind of actor is Anthony Quinn, he has such a strong sense of his identity that every part he plays he acts as what he would do in such a situation. It happened that I had a small part where I had to blackmail somebody, the way I was going to deliver my lines was in a manner of apology, I really don't want to blackmail you but I am forced to. The director said no, I don't want you to do it like that, you should be delighted that you got the fellow under your thumb, be ruthless and even give a little laugh. Well I just could not do it. We tried a few times and then to my shame the director said OK we will do it your way. I believe it was cut out of the film.

At present, Bettine is working on a photography book with glamorous shots taken of her during the Sixties by celebrity photographer Horace Ward. One of those photos is featured below.

Our sincere thanks to Bettine Le Beau and Horace Ward.

>Robert Davi (December 2011)
>Vic Armstrong (November 2011)
>Béatrice Libert (November 2011)
>Doug Redenius (May 2011)
>Jeffery Deaver (April 2011)
>Martin Grace (January 2010)
>Bob Dix (August 2009)
>Britt Ekland (June 2009)
>Eight James Bond film directors (Winter 2009)
>Sean Connery (January 2009)
>David Hedison (June 2008)
>Sean Connery (April 2008)
>John Glen (September 2007)
>Terence Mountain (April 2007)
>Stanley Morgan (April 2007)
>Albert Moses (October 2006)
>Virginia Hey (October 2006)
>Dolph Lundgren (June 2006)
>Richard Kiel (March 2006)
>Hilary Saltzman (January 2006)
>Papillon Soo Soo (September 2004)
>Roger Spottiswoode (April 2004)
>Greg Powell (May 2001)
>Doug Robinson (May 2001)
>Roy Alon (May 2000)
>Nick Wilkinson (May 2000)
>Sarah Donohue (May 2000)
>Eunice Huthart (May 2000)

Bettine has recently redesigned her website, check it out here:

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