Linda Christian, who was a Hollywood starlet in the 1940s when she married actor Tyrone Power and later become the first Bond girl in a TV adaptation of Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale,” died Friday in Palm Desert, Calif., after a battle with colon cancer. She was 87.
Christian was discovered by Errol Flynn while the actor was in Acapulco and thereafter pursued an acting career in Los Angeles.
Christian signed a seven-year contract with MGM in the early 1940s. She made her Hollywood debut in an uncredited role alongside Danny Kaye in the 1944 musical comedy “Up in Arms.” She also had small roles in “Club Havana,” “Holiday in Mexico,” “Green Dolphin Street,” “Tarzan and the Mermaids” and “Showboat.”
The actress’s curvaceousness led Life magazine to nickname her the “anatomic bomb.”
Christian married Power, one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men, in 1949, but the couple divorced in 1956.
In 1953 the couple had a chance to work together in “From Here to Eternity” but neither ended up in the film.
In 1954 she starred as James Bond’s love interest in an adaptation of “Casino Royale” that was part of CBS’ “Climax!” series and starred Barry Nelson. Also that year, she had a role in the Jane Powell-Debbie Reynolds vehicle “Athena,” which also starred Edmond Purdom, an English actor to whom Christian was briefly married in the early 1960s.
In the late 1950s and early ’60s she had roles in several European films. In 1963 she appeared in the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton film “The V.I.P.s.”
Back in the U.S., Christian made TV appearances on “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “The Lloyd Bridges Show” and “The Dick Powell Theatre.”
After a break of 20 years from showbiz, she made several films in Italy in the 1980s.
Born in Mexico to a Dutch oil-company exec father who traveled from country to country, Christian picked up a number of languages when she was young.
She is survived by two daughters, singer Romina Power and actress Taryn Power, and eight grandchildren.