Wednesday, November 3, 2010

James Bond and moi - Shaken and Stirred

On Halloween, after the trick-or-treating and the kids were asleep, Fen and I had a drink and decided to watch Thunderball. My parents were extras in the movie which was shot in 1964 on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas - which is where I grew up.

I called mom to ask what scene they're in - it's the scene right after the casino gambling where Domino and James are having a drink and then dance. We kept fast forwarding and pausing until we spotted my parents in the background with their two best friends Sonia and Victor.

Fen and I were laughing our heads off. My dad outfitted in his tux and my mom is in a fantastic silk, pale blue gown. They look like two million in cash - young, beautiful and having fun. My dad's smile is infectious and I can spot it from a mile away.  They're just mom and dad to me - but here they are fabulous, perfectly dressed and coiffed and having a blast. I love it.

Mom had a good laugh at us hunting for them in the film. She told me that Sean Connery was wearing  slippers throughout the entire scene because his feet hurt. You never see his feet so I guess it didn't matter. But there's a little trivia for you. She also told us that back then there was no bridge to Paradise Island so they had to be boated over - they were stuck there until 4 in the morning. But the booze and food was served all night.

James Bond films are almost always filmed in the Bahamas since they began. My parents found out about the need for extras through an ad in the paper that requested 'caucasians'! How offensive is that?! Half of Nassau society turned out and it shows - that's their own clothes and jewels they're wearing in the movie and some of it's dazzling (and real). The scene my parents are in was filmed at the old Ocean Club which was on the water and owned by Huntington Hartford the old A&P heir and playboy (who my mother went on one date with - that was enough!). He was there with his latest squeeze as well as Grace Kelly's mother. All of my parents friends were out that night and they had a rip-roarin' good time.

I loved watching that movie because it shows the Paradise Island I grew up knowing - not the ridiculous Atlantis nightmare it is now.It's featured back in the golden age when you had to dress to go to the Casino and dancing was elegant. I remember how dashing my parents looked. My dad always had on a tuxedo and my mother was (and still is) quite the fashionista. She was a big fan of Pucci and to this day I love his designs. She had a white mink stole that she broke out from time to time and always looked fantastic. I now have that stole which I model for Cate when we play dress up. It's still stunning but I can't rock it like mom!

As a very young teen, I was an extra in two James Bond movies: Never Say Never Again and Octopussy which were filmed within months of each other and released in 1983. One with Sean Connery and the other with Roger Moore. It was fun - but nothing like Thunderball. Met both stars and their co-stars (Kim Bassinger, Rowan Atkinson, Barbara Carerra, Maud Adams) which was nice. I've been an extra in several films, a few commercials and TV shows - all in the background. It's not even remotely glamorous. It's boring and tedious to be honest. And that's it for my film career.

Sean Connery lives in Lyford Cay/Nassau and has for years. When I was 14 a few friends and I crashed our golf cart into his front gate and he came out to yell at us, which we thought was hilarious. I've been chewed out by James Bond. Good thing he didn't have a gun (but he was in slippers again)!

7 comments:

  1. Sean Connery always wears slippers - even when he is wearing his shoes! FACT!

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  2. What great memories for you and really something fun to tell the children when they are older. It must be funny for you if you are ever invited to James Bond theme parties.

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  3. Wow - that's quite a claim to fame!

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  4. What fabulous memories...and what a lovely place to grow up.

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  5. Wonderful stories, thank you for posting them.

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  6. These are wonderful stories!! And how amazing it must be to be able to see your parents frozen in time like that in such an iconic thing as James Bond... fantastic!

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  7. How cool is that? It must have been such a fun place to grow up.

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