(February 17, 1971– ): American film actress who portrayed sexy nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough. Richards first came to the attention of American action audiences when she portrayed vivacious pilot cadet Carmen Ibanez in Paul Verhoeven’s science fiction satire Starship Troopers (1997). As Christmas Jones, Richards was definitely a throwback to the curvy sexpots that were a mainstay of the 007 series in the 1960s, and she took quite a few brickbats for her casting as a brilliant nuclear weapons expert. But she’s a lot of fun in a role that was never going to be played by a professorial type, and decently credible spouting a fountain of nuclear jargon while looking good in hiking shorts and work boots. She’s also a credible action figure, jumping in to disarm bombs when the need arises.
Born in Downer’s Grove, Illinois, Richards made her motion picture debut as Elizabeth in director Guy Magar’s crime drama Lookin’ Italian (1994), which also featured Bond player Gloria Hendry. The former wife of actor Charlie Sheen, she made a big splash in John McNaughton’s steamy thriller Wild Things (1998), and later had a brief cameo as “Carla, the real friendly one” in an ending scene in the celebrated Christmas classic Love Actually (2003).