Jill St. John
Born this day in 1940
Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever
Born in the industry’s capital, it is no surprise Jill Arlyn Oppenheim went into showbiz at the tender age of five, working on radio. Her first onscreen appearance was in a television short, The Christmas Carol (1949), as Missie Cratchit when she was 9 years old. That same year, she appeared in the television series Sandy Dreams.
St. John was regularly making guest appearances on the small screen and heating up the silver screen opposite some of the biggest names in the business during the 1960s when she was blossoming into a beautiful and flirtatious young woman. Her onscreen love interests included such leading men as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Robert Goulet, Anthony Franciosa, and John Saxon. Offscreen, St. John was romantically involved with Sinatra, Henry Kissinger, and Jack Jones (husband number three), but she must have found true love with her fourth husband, actor Robert Wagner, because that is her longest marriage – 25 years and counting!
I haven’t been a follower of St. John and of her 64 acting credits, Diamonds Are Forever is a certain, but everything else, I’m not sure. St. John is gorgeous as Tiffany Case, however if we look at the Bond Girl from the perspective of her education, either formally in a higher institution (Dr. Holly Goodhead) or from life experience (Octopussy), then in comparison, Case appears kind of dingy. Maybe it was a backlash to the feminist movement at the time or perhaps a residual side effect of St. John’s early roles as a teen and in her twenties when her characters were beautiful but not particularly bright. I wish her character had been more developed, which would have allowed St. John to have a more serious role to balance her incredible beauty.
St. John semi-retired from acting about 15 years ago, although she and hubby did guest appear as Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus in the television movie, Northpole (2014) last year.
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