at The Radisson Heathrow Hotel – London


Graham Rye and Ursula Andress at the roulette wheel
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN? Graham Rye shares a joke and spin of the roulette wheel with Ursula Andress.

After some very successful signing events staged over the last few years AUTOGRAPHICA hosted the biggest event to date at the five-star Radisson, Heathrow Hotel, a stone’s throw from the airport.

Graham Rye & Ursula Andress

Staged over the weekend of the 29th-30th October, AUTOGRAPHICA's guest list was extremely varied, including Astronauts, Cosmonauts, Sports Stars, and a wide range of guests from the entertainment world. The biggest name by far on the guest list, courtesy of Graham Rye and 007 MAGAZINE, was Ursula Andress. This was a major coup and her first appearance at any event of this kind. Miss Andress was the biggest draw for the majority of the people attending the event. Graham was also responsible for bringing in a whole host of Bond stars which included Guy Hamilton (another first-timer at a signing event), Norman Wanstall, Joe Robinson, and Mai Ling. Mai Ling you’ll remember featured as Goldfinger’s spying stewardess on board Bond’s flight to Baltimore, and like her director Guy Hamilton, had never-before attended an event of this type..............PHOTOGRAPHS/GRAHAM RYE

Clifton James (Sheriff J. W. Pepper in Live And Let Die)

Clifton James...

Mr & Mrs Buzz Aldrin

Mr & Mrs Buzz Aldrin

Ursula Andress was on great form throughout what was no doubt a very tiring weekend. She signed over 1200 autographs across the two days, posed for numerous photographs, and opened the evening fun ‘Casino Royale’, set up especially for the occasion and presided over the first spin of the roulette wheel, winning £2,000 in ‘fun chips’. Miss Andress was accompanied over the weekend by her 25-year-old son Dimitri Hamlin, who is on the threshold of a modelling and acting career; a great-looking guy with a quiet and brooding personality that should pay dividends in his chosen profession. Suffice to say, Ursula was the STAR of the show, and everyone was bowled over who met her. One fan had even flown over from Washington DC just to meet her! Over dinner she explained to Graham that both she and Sean (Connery) had recently been approached by a German bank to appear together in a commercial parodying their roles in Dr. No, only this time it would be Ursula being surprised to see Sean emerging from the waves on the same Jamaican beach. Unfortunately EON Productions had some problem with the commercial and the project was cancelled. Pity, it could have been great fun – and very lucrative for both stars!

Sheriff J. W. Pepper is back!

...Sheriff J. W. Pepper is back!

Mai Ling - James Bond girl in Goldfinger(1964)
Mai Ling

Mai Ling was the other guest who drew a large number of autograph hunters to her table. Her husband is a well-known film cameraman in the industry, although now retired. He worked mainly for David Lean but was also part of the aerial crew on You Only Live Twice. Mai Ling has long since put her screen career behind her, never realising that the Bond world still continued and there were people that remembered her, let alone would want to meet her and purchase her autograph. After some gentle persuasion from Graham she agreed to attend, only to be staggered when she saw the amount of still photographs that had been printed for her to sign. However, by the end of Saturday they had all been sold! (All the Bond images used for signing were supplied from the 007 MAGAZINE Archive) I had the good fortune to spend some time with Mai Ling over the weekend and am pleased to say we had a hugely enjoyable time chatting together. She is a most incredible lady, very elegant, unassuming, and her looks are as fresh and beautiful as ever.

Joe Robinson (Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever) & Carol Cleveland Kenny Baker & Dave Prowse Kenny Baker & Dave Prowse

Joe Robinson with Carol Cleveland

R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) reunited with Darth Vader (Dave Prowse)

Guy Hamilton lives mainly in Majorca these days, and is a rare visitor to these shores, but his appearance was especially welcome as he has a wealth of stories from his long and distinguished career. He was also very popular, not having attended an official signing event before, and like all the other Bond guests posed for photographs and had a very busy weekend.

Norman Wanstall is without doubt one of the nicest and most genuine people you could ever meet, and armed with his Oscar for sound editing on Goldfinger, was a major draw.

Joe Robinson also had a great weekend, meeting up with many old friends including Brian Blessed, who he taught Judo back in the Sixties, and the evergreen Carol Cleveland of Monty Python fame.

Together with Fred Bryant (Graham’s friend of over 40 years), I spent the weekend manning the 007 MAGAZINE stand in the exhibitors’ area. We had a very busy weekend as we were selling 007 MAGAZINE issue #47, hot off the presses and featuring Ursula on the cover, and a number of very rare autographed James Bond items.

Apart from a few minor scheduling hiccups, and a lower turnout than the organisers expected on Sunday, the event went off without a hitch, and I think both guests and visitors had a great time. I’m sure they’ll be many people who’ll regret they didn’t attend.

Oscar Winner Norman Wanstall &  original James Bond girl Ursula Andress

Oscar Winner Norman Wanstall with Ursula Andress

Joe Robinson & Priscilla Barnes

Joe Robinson with Priscilla Barnes

Ursula enjoys... ...Ursula signs
 Ursula Andress enjoys the Saturday dinner....  ...and signs autographs for waiting fans
'The Gang!' Mai Ling charms...
 'The Gang'...Fred Bryant, Norman Wanstall,
Cleveland, Andrew Pilkington and Mai Ling
 Mai Ling charms Fred Bryant, Norman Wanstall and Andrew
...Mai Ling signs 007 MAGAZINE Merchandise table
 Mai Ling prepares to sign for the many waiting fans
 Andrew and Fred at the 007 MAGAZINE merchandise table