Jill St. John
(born Jill Arlyn Oppenheim
; August 19, 1940) is an American actress. She is best known for playing Tiffany Case
, the first American Bond girl
of the 007
franchise, in Diamonds Are Forever
. Additional performances in film include The Lost World
, Tender Is the Night
, Come Blow Your Horn
, for which she received a Golden Globe
nomination, Who's Minding the Store?
, The Oscar
, Tony Rome
, Sitting Target
and The Concrete Jungle
On television, St. John has appeared in such top rated shows as Batman
, The Big Valley
, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
, Hart to Hart
, The Love Boat
, Fantasy Island
, Magnum, P.I.
. During her Hollywood heyday she was almost equally famous for her high-profile social life and frequent romantic associations with prominent public figures. St. John is married to actor Robert Wagner
and has known him since she was 18 years old. They share credits on nearly a dozen screen and stage productions, notably the miniseries remake of Around the World in 80 Days
St. John was born Jill Arlyn Oppenheim in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Edward Oppenheim, a prosperous restaurant owner,
and his wife Betty (née Goldberg),
who became her stage mother
. She has no siblings.
As a young girl, St. John was a member of the Children's Ballet Company with Natalie Wood
and Stefanie Powers
. All three would later marry or co-star with actor Robert Wagner
. Her mother Betty changed Jill's last name to St. John during her adolescence.
St. John began acting on radio at age six, and made her screen debut in December 1949, at age nine, in The Christmas Carol
, the first full-length TV movie. She was in the TV show Sandy Dreams
that same year.
She attended Powers Professional School and received her high school diploma from Hollywood Professional School
in the spring of 1955 at age 14.
At age 15, St. John enrolled at UCLA's Extension School.
During this time, she appeared on a large number of radio shows, notably One Man's Family
20th Century Fox
"Nothing but starlet parts," she later said. "You know, the daughter, the niece, the girlfriend."
Jill St. John in 1958
"I'm a comedienne," she said in 1963. "I've never pretended to be a dramatic actress. But I'm very funny."
"Now I play the sexy comedienne, which is my forte" she said in 1964. "Comedy is what I've always wanted to do."
St. John appeared in the first and second episodes of the television series Batman
(1966) as the Riddler's moll Molly. She was also in The Big Valley
In 1966, she said her goal "was to be at a point where I have so proved myself as an actress that I can be more discriminating in the roles I choose. I want to be able to choose the parts I know I can do next."
St. John's most famous role was as diamond smuggler Tiffany Case
, the love interest of James Bond
in Diamonds Are Forever
(1971), where she starred opposite Sean Connery
. She was the first American to play a Bond girl
The character of Tiffany is argumentative, abrasive, loud, and brash when compared to previous Bond girls who were more demure; she is meant to be a stereotypical commentary on American women, apparently[original research?]
During 1983–1984, she starred with Dennis Weaver
on the short-lived soap opera Emerald Point N.A.S.
, in which she played Deanna Kinkaid, Thomas Mallory's conniving former sister-in-law.
In 1997, the couple appeared together at the end of "The Yada Yada
" episode of the television sitcom Seinfeld
In 2014, St. John played Mrs. Claus in the TV movie Northpole
alongside Wagner, who played the part of Santa Claus. The film marked her first acting role after a 12-year absence from the screen.
In 1972, St. John largely left Hollywood behind and moved to Aspen, Colorado
, where she focused on personal interests and cooking.
She eventually developed her interest in cooking into becoming a culinary personality, appearing in monthly cooking segments on ABC-TV's Good Morning America
and with a column in USA Weekend
magazine through the 1980s. This culminated in authoring The Jill St. John Cookbook
(1987), a healthy, but not health food, collection of recipes and some anecdotes.
St. John also developed a handmade Angora
sweater business, and became interested in orchid growing, skiing, hiking, river rafting, camping, and gardening. In 1987, she said "I'm a mountain gal now. I love the outdoors and I love harvesting and using fresh vegetables and herbs."
St. John is founder of the Aunts Club, a Rancho Mirage
-based group of women who contribute at least $1,000 per year to provide financial support for a child.
St. John has been married four times:
- Neil Dubin (May 12, 1957 – July 3, 1958; divorced) St. John was 16 years old when they eloped to Yuma, Arizona.[a] Dubin was heir to a linen fortune. St. John complained that he harassed and ridiculed her.
- Lance Reventlow (March 24, 1960 – October 30, 1963; divorced) Reventlow was the son of Barbara Hutton, heir to the F. W. Woolworth fortune. St. John received a settlement of $86,000. Despite their divorce and subsequent remarriages, she refers to Reventlow as "my late husband" in interviews.
- Jack Jones (October 14, 1967 – February 28, 1969; divorced) Jones said demands on his singing career and the traveling involved contributed to the breakup.
- Robert Wagner (May 26, 1990 – present) The couple first met in 1959 when they were contract players at 20th Century Fox, and have been together since Valentine's Day 1982.
In between marriages, St. John dated entertainment, sports, and political personalities including Ben Barnes
, Gianni Bulgari
, Sammy Cahn
, Michael Caine
, Oleg Cassini
, Barry Coe
, Sean Connery
, Ahmet Ertegun
, Robert Evans
, Glenn Ford
, David Frost
, Bill Hudson
, Henry Kissinger
, Sidney Korshak
, Sandy Koufax
, Peter Lawford
, George Lazenby
, Trini López
, Tom Mankiewicz
, George Montgomery
, Jack Nicholson
, Ogden Mills Phipps
, Roman Polanski
, Alejandro Rey
, Tom Selleck
, Frank Sinatra
, U Thant
, Robert Vaughn
, Giovanni Volpi
and Adam West
St. John was also romantically linked with criminal court judge Jerome M. Becker, ski instructor Ricky Head, Olympic ski champion Brownie Barnes, plastic surgeon Steven Zax, investment broker Lenny Ross, Chicago businessman Delbert W. Coleman and Brazilian entrepreneur Francisco "Baby" Pignatari.
She was engaged to Miami real estate developer Robert Blum in 1974, but called off the engagement.
She has three stepdaughters:
In July 2007, Wagner and St. John sold the Brentwood
ranchette they had lived on since 1983, for a reported $14 million
and relocated to their vacation home in Aspen.
They retain a condo in L.A.
Mutual animosity between St. John and her husband's former sister-in-law, actress Lana Wood
, dates back to 1971, when Sean Connery was simultaneously involved with both women during the filming of Diamonds Are Forever
. The pair's half-century feud has been highlighted by two well-documented public altercations: one in September 1999, when St. John refused to be photographed with Wood at a Bond girl reunion for Vanity Fair
and another in February 2016, when Wood crashed an event honoring St. John in Palm Springs
and confronted Wagner over the reopened death case of her sister Natalie,
who mysteriously drowned in 1981 while yachting with Wagner off the coast of Santa Catalina Island
- Sandy Dreams (1949)
- The Christmas Carol (1949, TV Movie) as Missie Cratchit
- The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1951–1952) as Sherry Kelly / Jill Kelly
- Sky King (1952) as Gretchen Gluckman
- Fireside Theatre (1953)
- Cavalcade of America (1954)
- The Christophers (1957)
- Schlitz Playhouse (1957) as Eloise
- The DuPont Show of the Month (1957) as Lois Graves
- Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963–1965) as Janie Douglas / Faith / Bunky
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) as Carol (uncredited)
- Mr. Broadway (1964) as Herself
- Burke's Law (1964) as Pinky Likewise
- The Rogues (1965) as Jena Tate
- Batman (1966) as Molly
- The Big Valley (1966) as Barbary Red
- Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966, TV Movie) as Leona Purdy
- How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1967, TV Movie) as Nikki Pine
- Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968–1971)
- The Spy Killer (1969, TV Movie) as Mary Harper
- The Name of the Game (1969) as Michelle Howell
- Foreign Exchange (1970, TV Movie) as Mary Harper
- The Red Skelton Hour (1971) as Freida
- Decisions! Decisions! (1971, TV Movie) as Andrea Winters
- Old Faithful (1973, TV Movie) as Miss Roberts
- Saga of Sonora (1973, TV Movie) as Molly
- Brenda Starr (1976, TV Movie) as Brenda Starr
- Telethon (1977, TV Movie) as Fran Sullivan
- Hart to Hart (1979) as Sylvia Maxwell
- The Love Boat (1979–1982) as Laura / Sandy Wilson / Claire Dalrymple / Mitzi De Risi
- Vega$ (1980) as Mavis Graham
- Fantasy Island (1981–1982) as Ellen Layton / Jane Doe / Helen of Troy
- Magnum, P.I. (1982) as Jan Kona
- Two Guys from Muck (1982, TV Movie) as Miss Demandt
- Rooster (1982, TV Movie) as Joanna Van Eegan
- Matt Houston (1982) as Karen Ann Douglas
- Emerald Point N.A.S. (1983–1984) as Deanna Kincaid
- Dempsey and Makepeace (1986) as Mara Giardino
- J.J. Starbuck (1988) as Rachel Capstone
- Around the World in 80 Days (1989) as Woman mistaken for Princess Aouda
- Out There (1995, TV Movie) as Bunny Wells
- Seinfeld (1997) as Mrs. Abbott
- Northpole (2014, TV Movie) as Mrs. Claus
Because St. John was a minor, concern arose whether the Arizona ceremony was legal.
To ensure the validity of the marriage, Dubin's parents insisted on a Los Angeles wedding, which took place 11 days after they eloped, on May 23.
- ^ a b c d e f "The Private Life and Times of Jill St. John".
- ^ "Betty Lou Oppenheim, dead at 85". Variety. April 16, 1998.
- ^ a b c Too Many Jacks for Jill: Hollywood's most irrepressible redhead says she likes the idea of marriage, but... Goldberg, Hyman. Los Angeles Times January 5, 1964: B12.
- ^ Film Beauty, 16, to Save; Her Husband Pays Bills: Jill St. John Explains How She Can Put Away Salary; Court Approves Contract Los Angeles Times May 30, 1957: 2.
- ^ Lovely Jill Goes Up the Hill to Stardom: JILL ST. JOHN 'High-Q' No Problem, Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times September 28, 1958: E1.
- ^ Just Call Her Joyous Fill: And Why Shouldn't She Be Joyous? She Has Beauty, Charm, a Burgeoning Career, and Lance Reventlow for a Husband Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune April 9, 1961: b17.
- ^ Prefty, Bright, Rich Jill St. John Has Fun Smith, Jack. Los Angeles Times October 7, 1963: A1.
- ^ Delicate Balance of TV Censorship Los Angeles Times November 23, 1966: C12.
- ^ Jill's Ready for Better Roles, NORMA LEE BROWNING. Chicago Tribune November 1, 1966: b1.
- ^ Brown, Brigid (November 2012). "The Early Bond Girls: Where Are They Now?". BBC America. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
- ^ Lucky in life and in love: Robert Wagner and Jill St. John Star Together in Love Letters: The Record24 Oct 1996: C10.
- ^ a b William Rice (December 10, 1987). "Actress Jill St. John Plays Up Cooking Career". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- ^ Bond Girl Jill St. John To Be Honored By Sintara Center. looktothestars.org. January 22, 2016.
- ^ "Sinatra Center for Abused Children 2016 champion honors lunch".
- ^ Los Angeles County marriage registration no. 12444, FamilySearch; recorded May 27, 1957.
- ^ ACTRESS BLAMES HIVES ON NAGGING: Jill St. John, 17, Wins Divorce After Telling How Mate Impeded Her Career Los Angeles Times July 4, 1958: 2.
- ^ Jill St. John Is Divorced New York Times October 31, 1963: 27.
- ^ The Paul O'Grady Show, March 17, 2009.
- ^ Field, Matthew; Chowdhury, Ajay (2015). Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films. The History Press. p. 254. ISBN 9780750966504. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
- ^ "Friends Say It's Love". People.com.
- ^ "Sale price *finally* revealed (After more than a year!) for the 4,556-square-foot house in los Angeles' Brentwood area that actor Robert Wagner and actress Jill St. John sold in July 2007; couple fet".
- ^ "Aspen is home, sweet home for actor Wagner". September 18, 2008.
- ^ Wagner, Robert & Eyman, Scott. Pieces of My Heart. Random House, 2010
- ^ "Insider".
- ^ "Robert Wagner Finally Answers Questions in Natalie Wood Case". March 2016.
Last edited on 14 June 2021, at 22:48
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