• Red Nichols, Holstorian

The wife of James Bond is dead

Updated: Mar 16

We grieve at news of the belated death of James Bond's first, and only, wife; the Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo who was played in the film version of Fleming's book, by the late Dame Diana Rigg. Today, close on 50 years after her machine-gunning in that 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", actress Diana Rigg passed away.

For all the other films, for me it is the books that 'are' James Bond and the clumsy errors of the films are unlikeable (that godawful blue shoulder holster) while those of the books are downright endearing (Bond's 1932 supercharged Bentley was made only in 1930)(Bond's holster for his PPK had to be changed from a Berns-Martin shoulder holster to a Berns-Martin waistband holster)(etc).

But in the case of O.H.M.S.S. (there was, and is, no such service; rather, it is O.H.M.S. even today and is 'On Her Majesty's Service') the book is nothing to me and the film is everything. For I fell in love with the Contessa of the film as played, vulnerably, by Miss Rigg.

The actress had long been in poor health from her heavy smoking habit yet with our not realizing just how bad it must have been for her by then, in December of last year we at Berns-Martin invited her to attend our showing of the James Bond gunleather marque at the Las Vegas SHOT show for January 2020. She missed only having her name again in lights there: we had offered to feature her on this billboard instead of the book, because of Berns-Martin's and her connection with the Bond legend. No reply from her agent. Understandable. She was ill and we were nobodies.

For most others the actress was Mrs. Emma Peel (the replacement for Honor Blackman had to have 'man appeal'; 'm' appeal; 'Emma Peel', get it?) both of The Avengers. But for me she was the elegant, ladylike, vulnerable, sensuous Contessa and the only Mrs. J. Bond. I'm sure she was much less so in real life, simply by being a mere human. She didn't wait for me:

But then, of course I did marry her. My second wife also was Italian (Sicilian) and called Maria Antoniette Lucia La Marca. Like the Contessa of the Bond story I do believe Antoniette slept with me the first time to pay off a debt (to her boss for having her daughter's car engine replaced). 39 when we met in 2000 and being merely pretty, looked her very best when traipsing around the house naked. Bit of a wild child, too, like the Contessa.

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