ST. JOHN, JILL

Entry Source: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin


(August 19, 1940–     ; birth name: Jill Oppenheim): Redheaded American actress who portrayed diamond smuggler Tiffany Case, the first American Bond girl, in Diamonds Are Forever. As a favor to attorney Sidney Korshak, who was setting up Las Vegas location deals for the film, producer Albert R. Broccoli had first considered her for the part of Plenty O’Toole. However, director Guy Hamilton deemed her too much of an actress for Plenty and suggested she play Tiffany Case instead. Broccoli agreed, and as it turned out she was excellent in the role. St. John had the versatility to be cool and detached when Bond (Sean Connery) first meets her in her Amsterdam apartment, then comically frightened when she accompanies Bond on the madcap car chase through downtown Las Vegas, and finally downright cocky when she creates the diversion in the Las Vegas gas station that allows Bond to sneak into the utility van of Dr. Metz (Joseph Furst), headed for the missile installation of Blofeld (Charles Gray).

A rare performer who was actually born in Los Angeles, St. John made her film debut as a young English girl in the Alan Ladd / Deborah Kerr drama Thunder in the East (1952). Married to actor Robert Wagner, she’s also appeared in The Lost World (1960), with future Bond player David Hedison; The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), with Lotte Lenya; Tender Is the Night (1962); Come Blow Your Horn (1963); Who’s Minding the Store? (1963); Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963); Honeymoon Hotel (1964); The Liquidator (1965); The Oscar (1966); Tony Rome (1967); Banning (1967); and The Player (1992).