In 1963 Ursula was the hottest woman on the planet. After tryingto make her mark in Hollywood since 1955, in 1962 she had finally shot to stardom emerging from the sea in that bikini in the very first James Bond movie, Dr No. The King’s producers quickly snapped her up to play his love interest in another film set by the beach. Elvis, of course, already had a reputation by then of falling for his co-stars. Would he be able to resist a woman with a gold-plated licence to thrill?
Elvis Presley and Ursula Andress
Elvis Presley starred with Bond girl Ursula Andress
Ursula later described her feelings when she first met Elvis: “The only way I knew him was from TV, this new idol, this hip-swinging lover with a guitar. The first day I went to work, he came over, this humble man, full of charm, love in his eyes, and kindness, and being so considerate and warm. I was so surprised.”
Usually, it would be Elvis who would work his charm and pursue co-stars, but according to his Memphis Mafia friend Sonny West, this time it was the other way around.
West said: “They were very close. She went after him. She wanted him bad.”
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Elvis Presley co-star Ursula Andress in 1956
Elvis on a fake beach set in Fun in Acapulco
Back home at Graceland, a nervous Priscilla was very aware that her boyfriend was spending time with a “sex goddess” (in Priscilla’s own words) who was one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Ursula might have been married to actor and director John Derek at the time, but they would later split when he discovered her infidelity.
Priscilla later wrote about Elvis’ conversation with friend Alan Fortas: “‘Yeah, but E,’ Alan Fortas kidded him, ‘she only had eyes for you.'”
Priscilla herself also questioned Elvis: “‘Wasn’t she pretty?’ I asked. ‘Pretty?’, he snickered. ‘Hell, she had a bone structure so sharp, it could cut you in half if you turned too fast.'”
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Elvis with Ursula Andress in Fun in Acapulco
Elvis Presley on set with Ursula Andress
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Elvis had apparently replied to Fortas’ teasing over a flirtatin with Ursula: “No way, son, not with John Derek lurking all over the place. I’d be godd*mned if I’d start a conversation with her and see his possessive eyes glaring at me.
“You know he gave her a car, and on the steering wheel it said, ‘Baby, you’re indispensable.’ Head over heels in love with her. Never saw anything like it.”
The King famously had a rule he established for himself and the Memphis Mafia from the beginning.
West added: “Elvis told us never to leave him alone with her. It’s because he had a thing: he never went for married women.”
But that wasn’t all, in this case.
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It turned out Ursula also made The King feel very self-conscious. Not only did he prefer rather more sweet and deferential girls, but he was also intimidated by the Swedish glamazon’s body.
He said: “‘Goddamn, she was a big woman. Body like a man – no hips, and shoulders broader than mine. I was embarrassed to take my goddamn shirt off next to her.'”
West said: “Nothing ever happened, but they worked together well and had a great time.”
Elvis may have resisted, but Ursula’s own marriage was soon in trouble.
Ursula Andress and Harry Hamlin
Elvis Presley co-star Ursula Andress in 2017
The year after Fun In Acapulco, her husband threw her out of their LA home over reports of an alleged affair with actor Ron Ely. Ursula went on. to have public affairs with actors John Richardson and Marcello Mastroianni. She officially left Derek for Jean-Paul Belmondo in 1965, and their divorce was finalised in 1966.
Ursula was with Belmondo until 1972, moving on to Italian actor Fabio Testi in 1973, and then US star Harry Hamlin, who was 15 years her junior, in 1979.
In the mid-80s a series of relationships included Julio Iglesias before Ursula started a five-year affair with Fausto Fagone who was 30 years her junior. Since that ended in 1991 she has not been publicly linked with anyone.
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