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Ursula Andress was not the first Bond Girl, Linda Christian was

Swiss bombshell Ursula Andress is often cited as the “first Bond Girl,” due to her big screen debut in the first Bond film, "Dr. No," in 1962. 

But before James Bond was in the movies, he was on TV, and he had a Bond Girl there, too.

MORE PICS: See the gallery, "LIFE Celebrates the Bikini."

Linda Christian played “Valerie Mathis” in the TV version of Ian Fleming’s "Casino Royale" in 1954, almost a decade before Andress. American actor Barry Nelson played Jimmy Bond (yep, Jimmy) on the show.

Christian was married to movie star Tyrone Power at the time, and had been featured in LIFE magazine all the way back in September, 1945. "Almost before the ink was dry on headlines announcing the crash of the first atomic bomb, Hollywood had turned the event to good publicity. At the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio Miss Linda Christians [sic], a hitherto obscure starlet, was solemnly proclaimed the Anatomic Bomb," the magazine read.

Christian and Power had two children together before they divorced in 1958. She continued to act, mostly in foreign films, and died in 2011 at the age of 87.

Read the full story at LIFE.com.

 

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