Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(September 29, 1931–January 11, 2015): Voluptuous Swedish actress whose mouth became a key plot point in From Russia with Love. Alerted to an unannounced police search—the cops are actually the sons of sympathetic Turkish agent Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz)—Bulgarian assassin Krilencu (Fred Haggerty) attempts to sneak out of his Istanbul apartment by using a trapdoor built inside a billboard featuring an advertisement for the 1963 Albert R. Broccoli / Harry Saltzman production Call Me Bwana. Ekberg starred in the film, and she’s prominently featured on the billboard; in fact, the door actually opens right into her mouth. Krilencu never makes it to safety, as he’s gunned down by Kerim Bey—prompting another one of Richard Maibaum’s great lines for Sean Connery: “She should have kept her mouth shut.”

Born in Malmö, Ekberg was Miss Sweden 1950 and made her credited feature film debut as Wei Ling opposite John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in Blood Alley (1955). However, it was her appearance as the mesmerizing Sylvia in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960) that rocketed her to stardom. She married Thunderball’s Felix Leiter, Rik Van Nutter, in 1963, a union that lasted twelve years before they divorced in 1975.


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