Yes, this gorgeous redhead is celebrating her birthday today, and she's a star that I've long wanted to draw. For me, Jill St. John is one of several actresses that I personally consider very representative of the fun, breezy films of the 1960s that I love. It doesn't hurt that she costarred with Frank Sinatra in a couple of them: Come Blow Your Horn and Tony Rome, the latter of which I consider one of Sinatra's more satisfying films, with Frank getting to play a jaded private detective.
I watched Tony Rome again the other night, with the idea initially of basing my caricature of Jill on her role in the film as the sultry divorcee trying to seduce detective Rome, but having to wait patiently as he keeps on heading out the door to solve his case. I love the whole look of this film, as it feels like all of the characters just stepped out of a pulp crime paperback cover painted by Robert McGinnis. Ultimately, though, I turned to another film that probably has Jill St. John in her most famous role, that of Tiffany Case in the James Bond entry, Diamonds Are Forever.
This was the Bond film that Sean Connery was lured back to for one last go at it in 1971. He'd famously already quit the role after appearing in You Only Live Twice, allowing George Lazenby to play 007 in what turned out to be his one outing in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Connery agreed to come back once more after the studio met his (then) sky high salary demands. Anyway, Diamonds Are Forever may be the Bond film that I've seen most often, and it's because I really like his leading lady, Jill St. John. With her high cheekbones, sultry purr of a voice, and that mop of rich red hair piled up high, I just think Jill is pretty hot stuff! She looks particularly striking in the fashionable bikini getup that she appears in during the exciting climax of the film.
A few years ago, there was a documentary called Bond Girls Are Forever, written and hosted by Maryam d'Abo, a former Bond Girl herself. It was interesting to see the reactions of the various actresses who had appeared in the films throughout the series' long history, when asked how they felt about being a "Bond Girl". Some of the younger actresses from the more recent entries seemed to have mixed feelings, as if they weren't sure whether it helped their careers or not and whether portraying a Bond Girl was giving into sexism. But it seemed to me that both Ursula Andress and Jill St. John had the healthiest attitudes about their roles, seeing their characters as harmless fun that have entertained Bond film fans, both male and female, for many years. Anyway, I sure am grateful for Jill St. John's role as jewel smuggler, Tiffany Case, and I wish her the very best on this, her special day!