Website last updated: 9-6-2023

Exclusive interview with American actress Lynn-Holly Johnson

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2012-08-15
Lynn-Holly Johnson, John Glen, Stockholm
For the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the big screen, From Sweden with Love (Anders Frejdh) caught up with Lynn-Holly Johnson, the gorgeous American actress who played Bibi Dahl in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

Very early in life, you were in the spotlight: At the age of four, people could see you in adverts for McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Retrospectively, what do you think of this time in your life? Do you regret it, in the sense that you may have liked to have a more "normal" childhood?
To me my childhood was very normal, because that is all I knew since it started at age 4. I was well aware that other kids didn't "play" the way I did, I just thought what I got to do was great fun.

In 1978, you starred in your first film Ice Castles. Could you tell us about this first experience? Were you afraid of this new life? Do you think that your past experiences helped you? What do you remember from this movie?
Of course my past experiences helped me greatly. I was already a "pro" at being serious about a task, patience in doing things over and over, taking direction, dealing with adults, being away from my parents. I wasn't afraid; somehow I felt this was just the next step in line. But I had no idea there would be 15 more movies afterwards and that you would be writing to me this many years later.

Because of my background I only concentrated on the single job at hand, never thinking about how this movie would help me to get more movies. I remember a lot of the shooting of this movie because there was video made of the filming of it and thru numerous interviews. Without all of that I’d be rather lost in trying to remember it. This is because two years ago I suffered a stroke. I lost so many memories, lost all numbers, didn't know my age, my kid's age or birthday, all phone numbers, events current and past, didn't know what happened one hour before, yesterday or much of anything. I'm very lucky to be alive, very lucky.

For your part in Ice Castles, you were a Golden Globe nominee. Could you tell us about the feeling you had at that time? What were your professional projects at the time thanks to this nomination?
I was working on The Watcher in the Woods when I found out about the Golden Globe nomination for Ice Castles. That was exciting because as a kid I was always involved in competitions, so now I looked at movies as a competition. It was fun!

In 1980, you played Jan Curtis in The Watcher in the Woods, which was produced by Walt Disney. How did you get the part? Could you tell us about that experience? How was Bette Davis?
I got the part thru regular auditions, and then was screen-tested at Pinewood Studios when they narrowed it down to either hiring me or Diane Lane. Bette Davis was this wonderful grand lady, sort of reminded me of Colleen Dewhurst. I knew she had done great movies and had this amazing film background but due to my serious nature about how I worked I wasn't too intimidated. I just felt we were 2 actresses trying to make a great movie. At the time I had not seen any of her movies because as a skater I missed out on a lot of stuff regular kids knew about or did.

The following year, you portrayed Bibi Dahl in the 12th James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. How did you feel about starring in such a super-production as a James Bond film? Were you scared? How was Roger Moore? What do you remember most from this movie? Do you have any anecdote to share about the filming?
I wasn't scared at all about doing a Bond film. Again I had only seen one Bond movie prior. And again since my background was about treating work seriously, I wasn't concerned about the super-production. I had absolutely no idea that Bond, Bibi Dahl would stay in my life and that I'd be doing interviews about it at age 53! My favorite anecdote is that working with Roger Moore meant there was always a lot of laughter on the set. Roger is great fun, a wonderful gentleman. Due to the stroke I am sure I've lost some moments, but now all I can remember is laughter.

Lynn-Holly Johnson, Roger Moore, For Your Eyes Only
Lynn-Holly Johnson with Roger Moore during the filming of For Your Eyes Only in Cortina 1981.

In For Your Eyes Only, you mixed acting with ice-skating, were you afraid to receive a lot of offers for parts as ice-skater?
That didn't concern me at the time. And also I just finished movie, Watcher, that didn't have any skating. I was always just very keen on the next adventure.

Vanya Seager, John Glen, Lynn-Holly Johnson, For Your Eyes Only, Stockholm
Vanya Seager, John Glen and Lynn-Holly Johnson in Stockholm to promote For Your Eyes Only in 1981. Photo from our private collection.

What are your memories of Albert R. Broccoli?
A very large happy gentle gentleman who got on so well with Roger, the crew and me too.

Brosnan, did you meet him then? What did you think when he was later chosen to be James Bond?
At the time when I worked with Cassandra Harris, and met Pierce, there was no idea that he could even think about trying to fill Roger's shoes. so I was surprised years later.

What do you feel about your involvement with Bond now? Why do you think the film series has lasted 50 years?
50 years!!! Isn't that amazing? I'm sure Cubby is looking down with his giant smile. It works because everyone likes adventure and everyone likes a classy hero. And being tied to Ian Fleming makes it more intriguing. Ian's life was amazing.

What do you feel about the recent Bond films with Daniel Craig?
Daniel Craig is super!! But never as great as my James Bond!

Did you ever read any of Ian Fleming’s books?
I've only read an Ian Fleming biography.

Do you have any advice to give to a young actress?
My advice would be to take the career seriously; Bette Davis always said in interviews how much she enjoyed working with me because she said I was professional and serious to get the job done according to whatever the director directed us to do. Also be proud of what you are doing, it is on film forever, I am so glad I did not do the nudity in Ice Castles. It was wrong at the time and the way people enjoy the movie today, it still feels wrong to have nudity in it.

What is the best memory of your career so far?
Best memory is probably working with Roger, Golden Globes and people still being fond of Ice Castles which was very much the hardest movie to work on, most challenging, so I guess that’s what makes the result so worthwhile.

Which have been the most enjoyable actors to work with over the years?
Definitely Roger Moore, and most interesting to watch was Bette Davis.

What are your hobbies and how do you relax in between your work commitments?
My hobbies now are mostly playing with my kids. We were body-boarding at the beach yesterday! Fantastic! After the stroke I was in cognitive therapy for one full year to get my brain working accurately again. It was a very emotional experience for the whole family and my kids are well-aware that they almost lost their mom. So now we are a very tight and happy family, and my husband is my wonderful rock! Before the stroke I was a National Champion in sailing and I was an avid runner. The stroke started on an airplane, in the hospital they discovered a hole in my heart which allowed three blood clots to go into my brain.

One of the clots was in the Middle Cerebral Artery where they say three out of 10 people die. Two months after the stroke I had heart surgery to repair the tiny hole in my heart. Now all is well, except I'm still searching for some memories. But I know my kids and my husband and that is all that matters.

After a year and a half of recovery from the stroke I am now a spokesperson for American Heart Association, doing speeches, with hopes of trying to save lives. I am also an ambassador for The Neurosciences Institute. God must have had a plan, a stroke that I was able to recover from, with the hopes of helping others.

Photo on top:
Lynn-Holly Johnson and director John Glen promoting For Your Eyes Only in Stockholm in 1981. Photo from our private collection.

For a full listing of Lynn-Holly Johnson's career in films, check out her profile on IMDB.

Tags:

#anders_frejdh
#interviews
#john_glen
#lynn_holly_johnson

Tag Cloud

Bond 25 Bond girls Bond villains Britt Ekland Daniel Craig Dolph Lundgren George Lazenby Izabella Scorupco James Bond museum Kristina Wayborn Mary Stavin Maud Adams No Time To Die Ola Rapace Pierce Brosnan Roger Moore Sean Connery Spectre Timothy Dalton
 

All information, text and graphics (unless otherwise stated) on this website are protected by copyright law. Please contact us to use anything.

This website is not in any way endorsed by EON Productions Ltd, Danjaq, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sony Pictures, United Artists, Ian Fleming Publications, or any other James Bond copyright holders. It is an independently run non-profit website from a personal basis in spare time.

James Bond film images © 1962 - 2023 EON Productions Ltd, Danjaq LLC, MGM Inc. and United Artists Cooperation.

James Bond book covers © 1953 - 2023 Ian Fleming Publications and Glidrose Productions Ltd.

Founder & Managing Editor: Anders Frejdh