There’s so much to say about the beautiful women that are chosen to become Bond girls. One iconic performance that fans still remember even after five decades is Barbara Bouchet’s smoldering turn as Mis Moneypenny in 1967’s Casino Royale. Her scenes with the famous spy were notable for playful banter and an undercurrent of romantic tension.
Along with flirting with Bond, the plot of Casino Royale features Bouchet training a recruit on how to resist the charms of female enemy spies. She later assists Bond by traveling to the underground headquarters of the evil genius Dr. Noah. Throughout the film, Bouchet was the epitome of late 60’s glamour with her smokey eyes, big blonde hair, and provocatively see-through cocktail dress. Bouchet’s intense blue eyes and “come hither” gaze made her a favorite for fans of the series, many of whom still consider her among the best Bond girls.
Bouchet’s family emigrated from German-occupied Czechoslovakia in her early childhood, and she grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Her career began when she was 16 and chosen as a dancer for a local TV show where teenagers danced to hit songs. The exposure led to modeling and appearing in commercials until she eventually landed her first job as an actress in 1964.
Before reaching fame as a Bond girl, Bouchet had several supporting roles films like Please Come Home and Agent for H.A.R.M. She often played characters that were seductive or very scantily-clad. Bouchet was more comfortable with these roles than many young actresses in the relatively conservative Hollywood of the 1960s. She even made two semi-nude appearances in Playboy magazine, in 1965 and 1967. Although these kinds of roles launched her career, Bouchet would later express that she felt Hollywood had typecasted her. Her success as a Bond girl led to a guest-starring role on Star Trek in 1969. She also played Ursula in the 1969 musical Sweet Charity.
By the early ’70s, Bouchet was not satisfied with her opportunities in Hollywood and decided to relocate to Italy. While she made a few returns to American films, including the critically-acclaimed 1983 TV movie The Scarlet and The Black, the rest of her career was almost exclusively in Italian films.
Bouchet married Luigi Borghese, an Italian producer, in 1974, and went on to have two sons with him. She eventually founded her own production company and continues to live and work in Italy to this day. Bouchet has also expanded her interests into fitness. She owns a fitness studio in Rome and has produced a successful series of fitness videos.
Bouchet has had many successes, including appearances in over 80 Italian films and television shows, but she is still remembered primarily for being a spectacular Bond girl. More than five decades on from Bouchet’s performance in Casino Royale, the role is still notable for her excellent chemistry with Bond, as well as her beauty and charisma.