Hemsidan senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-21

Del I av Mark Cerullis intervju med Gloria Hendry: Filmerna

Av: Mark Cerulli
Gloria Hendry, Live and Let Die, interview, Bond
Den första delen av FSWL skribenten Mark Cerullis exklusiva intervju med skådespelerskan och sångerskan Gloria Hendry fokuserar på hennes filmroller. Hendry är välkänd bland James Bond-fantaster som Rosie Carver i den åttonde filmen, Live and Let Die (1973), regisserad av Guy Hamilton som återvände för sin tredje film i förarsätet.

As she took the stage at her sold-out concert in Los Angeles last month, Gloria Hendry said, “Life is like a roller coaster, you just gotta hang on and drive!” That advice was useful during our recent FSWL interview about her groundbreaking but turbulent life. Gloria Hendry goes far beyond her historic appearance as the first romantic lead Bond Girl of color - her story began in the civil rights movement during one of the most volatile periods in American history. “There was a lot of accepted prejudice in those days,” Gloria remembered, diving into the conversation.

Born in Florida, the star’s remarkable journey started in Newark, New Jersey where she went to school and learned life skills – “I learned how to fight, I was a swimmer, a runner and a gymnast, very physical...” Gloria hinted at a lot of conflict at home but would only say, “I had an awful childhood.” Young Gloria had her heart set on a career as a lawyer but in the racially charged 1960s, a school counselor told her, without regard, that being a lawyer wasn’t an option for a woman of color, so she studied to be a legal secretary. “I could type 90 words a minute and take shorthand at 120 wpm,” she remembered. After graduating, Gloria found herself on the front lines of the voting rights issue, working in New York City in the legal department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Within 6 years, America was rocked by no less than three traumatic political assassinations – John F. Kennedy (1963), Robert F. Kennedy (1968) and Dr. Martin Luther King (1968). “Dr. King’s assassination just tore me up,” Gloria admitted. The NAACP was subjected to frequent bomb threats and an avalanche of hate mail and the constant stress got to her. “We had bomb scares almost every day… I would go to work with knots in my stomach.” Eventually the pressure became too much, and she resigned. “I couldn’t take it anymore, so I quit.”

A career in advertising followed… until she read a newspaper ad that said Playboy Bunnies earned over $1000 a week... vs the $175 she was making on Madison Avenue. “Playboy was my ‘in’ to the industry.” Her looks and personality landed her a gig working at the Playboy Club on 59th St. in Manhattan. She began performing with the acts that would play the club and took both acting and singing lessons. Soon, she landed a small role in the 1970 film, The Landlord with Beau Bridges and Pearl Baily, then film director Daniel Mann came to the club and offered her a job in his next film, For Love of Ivy with Sidney Poitier, who became her mentor. “He was kind and so nice to me,” she recalled. “I was chosen to be the co-star for Black Caesar with Fred Williamson... they asked how I felt about nudity and I said, ‘I was a Playboy bunny! As long as it’s private, no problem.” Needless to say, she got the job but as she was making the film, her manager called telling her, “They want to see you for the Bond movie.” Gloria was confused... “I’m not tall, I’m not blond, I don’t have big breasts, why do they want to see me?” And, most of all, “I had never even seen a Bond film!”

Gloria Hendry, Rosie Carver, Live and Let Die
Gloria Hendry during the production of Live and Let Die in Jamaica. Photo from Anders Frejdh's private collection.

She flew back to New York to meet with legendary producer Harry Saltzman. “He had a kind face and beautiful white hair” she remembered. Soon after, Gloria was on a plane headed to New Orleans to meet the director and the new 007! Although she wasn’t familiar with well-known British director Guy Hamilton’s epic career, when Roger Moore entered the room she said, “There’s The Saint! I knew who he was...” Her “audition” was just having a conversation with the two. She flew back to Los Angeles to start work on her next film, The Hitman (starring Bernie Casey and Pam Grier), when she got the call every actor wants: “You got the part.” Gloria was amazed - “I never read one word, but that was the beginning of my Bond adventure!” Weeks of location work in Jamaica followed. “My room was between Harry Saltzman’s and Roger and his wife [Luisa] and kids [Deborah and Geoffrey]. They were protecting me!” She laughs. Every morning both she and Roger would swim laps in the hotel pool. “We’d be pushing bumble bees out of the way,” Gloria recalled, adding, “He would share his limousine with me every single day.” If Moore signed an autograph, he’d pass the photo to her to sign as well – more proof of how humble and kind Sir Roger really was...

Gloria broke the color barrier with her lips - giving James Bond his first interracial kiss.

When asked if that was a big deal, she chuckled, “Not at all... Roger and I became good friends.” The night before the scene at the lake, “I ate a lot of garlic... and I’m on top of him and just went ‘Ahhhhh’ in his face!” After Gloria stops laughing, she adds, “He’s looking up at me and said, ‘You’re lucky my wife is Italian.’”

Gloria Hendry, Roger Moore, Live and Let Die
Gloria Hendry with Roger Moore in Live and Let Die. Photo from Anders Frejdh's private collection.

She especially remembers the lavish dinners the production treated the cast to – “We all dressed up, especially in Jamaica and we ate together, with cocktails. It was very formal.” And if you’re making a Bond film, you’re living the Bond lifestyle: “They flew us first class, we had butlers and maids and a per diem. You needed to go somewhere, there was a limo waiting. I didn’t have to do a damn thing!”

She also treasured the experience of working at the iconic Pinewood Studios, commenting that “Europeans treated us (people of color) really well.” Gloria looks back on Live and Let Die very fondly, “It was one hell of a time! They [EON Productions] took great care of me.” Although she missed the UK Royal Premiere, she was invited to the New York version. “That was incredible!” she enthused. Gloria brought her family and they all enjoyed seeing her in one of the biggest films of the year. The film also opened a lot of career doors for her – “I was immediately put into the league of the top actresses of color,” Gloria marveled. Numerous TV show appearances followed and when she’d do memorabilia shows “There’d be lines out the door!” Such is the power of Bond. In summing up she adds, “No one has ever treated me better.”

Like virtually every other Bond actor I’ve interviewed, Gloria is amazed by her film’s longevity – “I cannot believe it! I have truly tried to shake Live and Let Die because I’ve done other films but that’s the one people remember.”

Want to know more about Gloria’s unique life story? Order her updated book – Gloria Hendry, 007 Bond, Bunny, Black Renaissance ‘IFM’ (which stands for Independent Film Making). You can order it from Amazon or buy it in Barnes and Noble stores.



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Grundare & Ansvarig utgivare: Anders Frejdh