First Bond Girl, Linda Christian, Dies

By Dale W. Eisinger
|  Sunday, Jul 24, 2011  |  Updated 11:55 PM EDT
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Linda Christian appears with Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan in "Tarzan And The Mermaids."

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Hollywood said goodbye to an archetype Friday.

Linda Christian, the first woman to play what would later be known as the ubiquitous "Bond girl," passed away at the age of 87 after a battle with colon cancer, her daughter told media outlets. Christian was born in Mexico in 1923 but moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.

Born Blanca Rose Welter, Christian was a child of prominence and wealth and followed her oil-tycoon father around the world. She eventually was able to speak seven languages. She won beauty contests and later would be known in Hollywood as the "anatomic bomb" because of her curves.

Christian played the first love interest of James Bond, in the first James Bond film ever, an adaptation of the first James Bond book ever, Casino Royale in 1954. She starred as Valerie Mathis, a combination of two characters from the book: Vesper Lynd and Rene Mathis. Her counterpart was Barry Nelson, the only American to portray Bond - this was also the only Bond film to not include a consummated affair.

It was her marriage to Hollywood's a-lister Tyrone Power in 1949 that helped to launch her career. They had two daughters, Taryn and Romina Power, both actresses.

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