Website last updated: 17-7-2024

Brian Smith reviews Gloria Hendry: 007 Bond, Bunny, Black Renaissance

By: Brian Smith
Gloria Hendry, book, review
Let’s be honest from the start. This book isn’t perfect. There are problems with the design and format, and it would arguably have benefitted from the assistance of a ghost writer.

That said, the life of Gloria Hendry is a story that deserves to be told. Eschewing the conventions of the usual celebrity autobiography, Hendry writes about the moments in her life which were, and obviously still are, important to her. She is honest about the highs and lows of her life, including incidents of sexual assault, racism and an early episode where she describes being chased and attacked, saved from knife injury thanks to the lining of her mother’s alpaca lined coat. Hendry writes at the start: ‘This book is about a young lady’s pursuit for success through love, excellence, free will, and truth. In the process, she realizes that how well she handles her problems, will influence the measure of her success.’ Overcoming these events clearly influenced her outlook on life and forged the strong woman that she is today. The text comes across as very conversational although the stories are not necessarily told in chronological order.

Hendry talks about being a Bunny at New York’s Playboy Club in the mid-Sixties, prior to which she worked for a spell at the NAACP. An approach by two filmmakers at the Playboy Club resulted in a film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in the 1968 movie For Love Of Ivy. She then entered the new wave of low budget, independently produced films – Blaxploitation pictures they were disparagingly dubbed by Hollywood NAACP president Junius Griffin – aimed at an African American audience but which soon found broader appeal among general cinemagoers. Those films informed the updating of Ian Fleming’s Live and Let Die (1954) for the big screen and saw Hendry journey with Yaphet Kotto from Across 100th Street to the island of San Monique and into Roger Moore’s first James Bond film.

Hendry recalls her initial meeting with Bond producer Harry Saltzman which ended with a limousine ride to the airport and straight to New Orleans to see director Guy Hamilton and Roger Moore. Hendry discusses her role in the film and subsequent filming in Jamaica and Pinewood Studios.

There are photos aplenty - publicity pictures, magazine shoots and some from her personal collection. These chronicle her life and career and include her almost bare-all shoot that accompanied Playboy magazine’s ‘Sainted Bond’ pictorial from the July 1973 edition. Despite any criticisms and reservations, the Live and Let Die (1973) section alone renders this book a required addition to the Bond bookshelf.

Review by Brian Smith. Copyright © 2023 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.

Editor's Note:
Available editions of Gloria Hendry: 007 Bond, Bunny, Black Renaissance:

>Paperback edition
>Kindle edition



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