Britt Ekland

Britt Ekland (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈbrɪtː ˈeːkland] (listen); born Britt-Marie Eklund; 6 October 1942) is a Swedish actress and singer. She appeared in numerous films in her heyday throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including roles in William Friedkin's The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), and the British crime film Get Carter (1971), which established her as a movie sex symbol. She also starred in the British cult horror film The Wicker Man (1973) and appeared as a Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

Britt Ekland
Ekland in 1972 by Allan Warren
Born
Britt-Marie Eklund

(1942-10-06) 6 October 1942
Stockholm, Sweden
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1959–present
Spouse(s)
Peter Sellers
(m. 1964; div. 1968)

Slim Jim Phantom
(m. 1984; div. 1992)
Partner(s)Lou Adler
Rod Stewart
Children3, including Victoria Sellers

Her high-profile social life and her 1964 marriage to actor Peter Sellers attracted considerable press attention, leading to her being one of the most photographed celebrities in the world during the 1970s.

Early life

Ekland was born Britt-Marie Eklund in Stockholm, Sweden to Maj Britt, a secretary, and Sven Axel Eklund, who ran an upscale clothing store in Stockholm and was captain of the Swedish national curling team.[2] Ekland's mother died of Alzheimer's disease in the 1980s, which had a profound effect on her.[1]

Ekland grew up with three younger brothers, and has said that she was overweight for much of her childhood: "I was very heavy. God, I was brutal-looking. I always tried to be funny to make up for the fact that I was fat and ugly."[2] As a teenager, Ekland left school to travel with a theatre company, and was spotted by a talent agent in a coffee shop while in Italy, who sent her to London to audition for films.[2]

Film career

Early roles: 1960–1970

Ekland began her career with bit parts and uncredited walk-on roles, including her first onscreen role in G.I. Blues (1960). This was followed with a small supporting part in The Happy Thieves (1960). She had small roles in the Swedish films Kort är sommaren (1962) and Det är hos mig han har varit (1963), before landing her first major supporting part in the George Marshall Western Advance to the Rear (1964).

In 1964, she appeared in the Christmas television film A Carol for Another Christmas with her then-husband, Peter Sellers. She followed this with After the Fox (1966), also starring Sellers; she made one more film with Sellers, The Bobo (1967). This was followed with a lead role as an Amish girl turned New York City burlesque dancer in William Friedkin's musical The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), which earned Ekland critical acclaim.[3] Next came Stiletto (1969), a crime drama, based on a novel by Harold Robbins, co-starring Alex Cord. She then starred in a string of Italian films, Machine Gun McCain (1969), The Conspirators (1969), and as Antigone in The Cannibals (1970).

Sex symbol and horror roles: 1971–1988

In 1971, she was cast as a leading lady and gun moll in the iconic crime film Get Carter, opposite Michael Caine, which firmly established her as a blonde bombshell. The 1970s also saw Ekland in several horror films, including What the Peeper Saw (1972) as a disturbed bride; the Agatha Christie adaptation Endless Night (1972), playing the friend and companion of an American heiress; and as a hallucinatory figure in the anthology film Asylum (1972) opposite Charlotte Rampling. Her most iconic horror role came in the 1973 cult horror film The Wicker Man, in which she played a Pagan villager and seductress; however, her voice was dubbed in the film to disguise her Swedish-accented English.[4]

Other roles included in the thriller The Ultimate Thrill (1974) and the British drama Baxter! (1973). On television, she was cast in the TV film The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War (1973) opposite Lee Majors. Ekland's next prominent role came when she was cast as the lead Bond girl, Mary Goodnight, in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), which received mixed reviews but furthered Ekland's status as a sex symbol.[1][5] In 1976 she provided the French spoken part at the end of then boyfriend Rod Stewart's hit single "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)". Ekland also portrayed biographical characters, such as the one based on real-life actress Anny Ondra (boxer Max Schmeling's wife) in the television movie Ring of Passion (1978). Ekland was also featured in the horror pictures The Monster Club (1980) and Satan's Mistress (1982).

Ekland had supporting roles in independent films, and appeared in the comedy film Fraternity Vacation (1985), followed by a role in the slasher film Moon in Scorpio (1988) and as prostitute Mariella Novotny in the feature film Scandal (1989) about the Profumo affair.

Stage and television: 1989–present

She has guest-starred on various television series, including an appearance on the popular series Superboy, playing an alien disguised as Lara, Superboy's biological mother, during the show's second season in 1990. Ekland published a beauty and fitness book, Sensual Beauty: How to Achieve It (1984), followed by a fitness video in 1992. In the BBC television series I Love the '70s (1999) she hosted the 1971 episode in homage to her role as "Anna" in the film Get Carter.

Ekland's later career has mainly consisted of stage and television, with her last feature film role being in The Children (1990). She appeared on stage as a cast member in Cinderella at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent in December 1999 and January 2000. She also appeared in Grumpy Old Women Live, participated in December 2007 in the Swedish reality show Stjärnorna på slottet (The stars at the castle) along with Peter Stormare, Arja Saijonmaa, Jan Malmsjö and Magnus Härenstam, and in December 2007 and January 2008 she starred again in Cinderella at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.[6] She appeared as a guest on the British daytime television show Loose Women, in January 2008. From December 2008 to January 2009, Britt starred in Cinderella at the Shaw Theatre in London. In a rare instance of her singing, she performed the song My Prince, originally recorded by Lara Pulver on the album Act One – Songs from the Musicals of Alexander S. Bermange. In 2009–10, she played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at Princess Theatre, Torquay. In December 2010, she starred as the 'Fairy Pea Pod' in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Kings Theatre, Southsea. She starred in further Pantomimes at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, in 2011 and 2012.

Ekland was one of the housewives of Svenska Hollywoodfruar (en:Swedish Hollywoodwives) on TV3 during the 2013 season. In 2010 Ekland took part in the reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! where she was fourth to be voted off. During the program she developed a close relationship with Stacey Solomon and Nigel Havers, while making an enemy of Gillian McKeith. She will participate in Let's Dance 2018 broadcast on TV4. She was the first to be eliminated on 30 March placing 11th.

Personal life

Relationships and family

Ekland became famous overnight as a result of her 1964 whirlwind romance and marriage to English actor and comedian, Peter Sellers, who proposed after seeing her photograph in the paper and then meeting in London.[7][8] She stood by him after he suffered a series of heart attacks shortly after their marriage. Ekland was stepmother to Sellers' children Sarah and Michael (who died of a heart attack at about the same age as his father). In January 1965 they had a daughter, Victoria. The couple made three films together—A Carol for Another Christmas (1964), After the Fox (1966) and The Bobo (1967)—before divorcing in 1968.

On 17 December 1968, Lord Justice Orr granted Ekland a decree nisi for divorce in the High Court on the grounds of cruelty by Peter Sellers, who did not contest the proceedings.[9]

In June 1973, Ekland had a son, Nic Adler, with record producer Lou Adler.

She also had a much publicised romance with rock star Rod Stewart; they were introduced in 1975 by Joan Collins and lived together for more than two years, with Ekland giving up her career to focus on the relationship.[10]

From 1979–1981, she dated and became engaged to Girl frontman and future L.A. Guns singer Phil Lewis.[11][12]

In 1984, at age 42, she married Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom, who was 19 years younger than she, aged 23. They had a son, Thomas Jefferson (born in 1988).[13] They divorced in 1992.

Legacy

In the 1970s, Ekland was one of the most photographed and talked-about celebrities in the world. In 1980, her best-selling autobiography, True Britt, was published.[14]

While Rod Stewart's domestic partner, Ekland inspired his hit song Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) 1977's overall #1 song.[15] The song features a French spoken part from Ekland.[15]

In 2004, Ekland was portrayed by Charlize Theron in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. She accompanied Theron to the Cannes Film Festival, where she became highly emotional when she saw the film.[16]

In the 2018 film My Dinner with Hervé, Ekland was played by Helena Mattsson.

Filmography

Film

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1960G.I. BluesBrittaUncredited
1962The Happy ThievesMrs. Pickett
Kort är sommarenEdvarda's Friend
1963Il comandanteIris
Det är hos mig han har varitLi's Workmate
The DevilUncredited
The PrizeNudist
1964Advance to the RearGreta
A Carol for Another ChristmasMother
Sonaron cuatro balazos
1965Do Not DisturbParty girlUncredited
1966After the FoxGina Romantica
1967The Double ManGina
Too Many ThievesClaudia
The BoboOlimpia Segura
1968The Night They Raided Minsky'sRachel Schpitendavel
1969StilettoIlleana
Machine Gun McCainIrene Tucker
The ConspiratorsPrincess Spada
1970The Year of the CannibalsAntigone
TintomaraAdolphine
1971PercyDorothy Chiltern-Barlow
Get CarterAnna
The StrongerWoman 1Television film
1972A Time for LovingJosette Papillion
Night Hair ChildElise
Endless NightGreta
AsylumLucy
1973Baxter!Chris Bentley
The Wicker ManWillow
The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and WarKatrina VolanaTelevision film
1974The Ultimate ThrillMichelle Parlay
The Man with the Golden GunGoodnight
1975Royal FlashDutchess Irma
1976High VelocityMrs. Andersen
1977Casanova & Co.Countess Trivulzi
1978SlaversAnna von Erken
The Great WallendasJenny WallendaTelevision film
1979King Solomon's TreasureQueen Nyleptha
1980The Hostage TowerLeah
1981Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the DollsFrançoiseMini-series
The Monster ClubBusotsky's Mother
1982Satan's MistressAnn-Marie
1983Dr. Yes: Hyannis AffairSusannah
Dead WrongPenny Lancaster
Erotic ImagesJulie Todd
1984Ecstasy
Love ScenesAnnie
1985Fraternity VacationEyvette
Marbella, un golpe de cinco estrellasDeborah
1986Az aranyifjúMrs. PidlingtonTelevision film
1987Moon in ScorpioLinda
1989ScandalMariella Novotny
Cold HeatJackie Mallon
Beverly Hills VampMadame Cassandra

Television

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1965Armchair TheatreKarenEpisode: "A Cold Peace"
1966The Trials of O'BrienClaudiaEpisodes: "The Greatest Game, Part 1; 2"
1970The Dean Martin ShowHerselfEpisode: "6.3"
1971AquariusMrs. XStrindberg's Stronger/LS.Lowry/Liverpool's Kop
1972-77McCloudTatiana Krasnavian / Vicki EricksonEpisodes: "The Barefoot Stewardess Caper," "The Moscow Connection"
1978Battlestar GalacticaTennaEpisodes: "Gun on Ice Planet Zero: Part 1; 2"
1979Return of the SaintLauraEpisode: "The Murder Cartel"
SkeppsredarenPatricia
1980-82The Love BoatAlice Robbins / Karen EllisonEpisodes: "Vicki's First Love/The High Cost of Loving/Accident Prone", "Doc Take the Fifth/Safety Last/A Business Affair"
1982Matt HoustonVera MartinEpisode: "Deadly Fashion"
1980-83Fantasy IslandLinda / Clarissa Bevis / Berniece Williams / AphroditeFour episodes
1984The Fall GuyHerselfEpisode: "Always Say Always"
1985Simon & SimonSamantha BlakeEpisode: "Love and/or Marriage"
1990SuperboyLara Lor-VanEpisodes: "Escape to Earth," "Abandon Earth"
GrandVivecaEpisode: "Blow Off"
1992Bara med BrittHerself / Host
1994Absolutely FabulousHerselfEpisode: "New Best Friend"
1997Brass EyeHerselfEpisode: "Animals"
2002LexxDulcibella SternflanksEpisode: "Prime Ridge"
2010I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!Herself / Contestant20 episodes
2013Astrid in WonderlandHerselfEpisode #5.8
2013–2015Svenska HollywoodfruarHerself
2018Let's DanceHerself / Contestant2 episodes

Discography

  • "Do it to Me once more (with feeling)" / "Private Party" (1979) No. 15 SWE

References

  1. Iley, Chrissy (22 September 2013). "Britt Ekland on nudity, Alzheimer's, and being 'abducted' by Peter Sellers - interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. Lester, Peter (10 March 1980). "All Is Vanity". People.
  3. "Review: 'The Night They Raided Minsky's'". Variety. 31 December 1967. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  4. Pukas, Anna (23 September 2013). "Britt Ekland: Being in The Wicker Man was a real horror". Express. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  5. "Review: 'The Man with the Golden Gun'". Variety. 31 December 1973. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  6. "Oxford Mail review of Cinderella at Wyvern Theatre, Swindon". Archive.oxfordmail.net. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  7. "Former Bond Girl". 23 April 2010 via news.bbc.co.uk.
  8. Sikov, Ed (2002). Mr. Strangelove: a biography of Peter Sellers. Pan MacMillan. ISBN 0-283-07297-0.
  9. "Actor Peter Sellers Regretted That His Marriage To Britt Ekland Had Broken Down A Divorce Court Judge Was Told Today", Associated Newspapers news release dated 17 December 1968
  10. McCormick, Neil (11 April 2013). "Rod Stewart interview: 'I am desperately ashamed of the way I finished relationships'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  11. Rock, Dave Ling2017-08-10T14:49:00 221Z Classic. "Philip Lewis: "The best advice I've ever been given was to get a vasectomy"". Classic Rock Magazine.
  12. "Britt Ekland and Phil Lewis". Who's Dated Who?.
  13. Wightwick, Abbie (7 May 2010). "Peter Sellers, Rod Stewart and me, Britt Ekland bares all". Wales Online. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  14. Eklund, Britt, True Britt, Simon & Schuster (February 1984) ISBN 0-13-931089-4
  15. Robert Windeler (21 February 1977). "Romantic Rod". People. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  16. Ashwood, James (30 January 2007). "Charlize Theron interview – Interviews – Movies". Virgin Media. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
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