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Sixties icon Britt in town for panto

PUBLISHED: 16:16 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:42 07 September 2010

Britt Ekland is playing

Britt Ekland is playing "The Fairy Godmother" in "Cinderella" at The Shaw Theatre

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Former Bond girl and sex kitten Britt Ekland has lived a life of glamour. A true sixties icon, the Swedish bombshell s relationships to high-profile men – including a four-year marriage to Hampstead comic actor Peter Sellers – would have kept her in the

FORMER Bond girl and sex kitten Britt Ekland has lived a life of glamour.

A true sixties icon, the Swedish bombshell's relationships to high-profile men - including a four-year marriage to Hampstead comic actor Peter Sellers - would have kept her in the limelight even if her career did not.

But, at just 21 years old, was she ready for marriage? "Oh no, of course not," she says emphatically. "I had said that I never wanted to marry. I thought it was a horrible institution and I thought women always drew the short straw. And then I left Sweden and 10 days later I was married."

Forty years later the actress would get to see her marriage portrayed on film, when Charlize Theron played her in the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

She recalls: "At the time I thought: why are they putting words in my mouth that I have never said? And using language that I have never been known to use.

"But to be depicted by Charlize Theron, who is 6ft tall, thin, sophisticated-looking - everything I wanted to be in my 20s - was not so bad. And she turned out to be a very nice woman."

While undoubtedly beautiful herself, Ms Ekland was also very funny as Mary Goodnight in the 1974 Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun.

Alongside cheeky Roger Moore, she satirised her character as Bond's dumb-blonde assistant.

And while she has said many times that beauty is not a curse, it has been suggested by some that the role may have typecast her and hindered her career.

She disagrees.

"It's obviously kept me in the public eye for all this time, but I didn't exactly lead the quiet life either. But in terms of my career, I had already been in two of the biggest cult movies in Britain with The Wicker Man and Get Carter, so I was already established."

In fact, Ms Ekland recalls filming The Man With The Golden Gun as the happiest time of her career: "Being Swedish, I wanted to go to exotic places, and the film took me to Thailand, Hong Kong - it was very exciting. From that point of view, that film provided me with everything I wanted."

These days the 66-year-old is playing a more maternal role, both as mother to her three children and fairy godmother in the Shaw Theatre's Cinderella - her 16th pantomime.

"I love panto," she says. "I love the games and the excitement that you are able to convey. It's like a whole city is done up just for you, and wherever you are it's Christmas all around.

"Right now is a good period in my career," she continues. "I have no fear, I'm old enough not to be flustered by anything and I'm not afraid of failure."

But the sex icon was not always so career-focused, and famously gave up acting to concentrate on her much-publicised romance with Rod Stewart, whom she describes as "a very needy person", adding: "If you look at pictures of him, he always has a woman by his side."

Her own list of former lovers includes Hollywood royalty such as Warren Beatty and George Hamilton, music producer Lou Adler and the late society photographer Lord Lichfield. Does she have any regrets?

"I think when people have regrets you can see it on their face and no amount of make-up can hide it. My motto in life has always been 'get on with it', and I just get on with it the best I can.

"I feel that my life speaks for itself. I think I'm looked at as a woman who has worked, sometimes in a bikini, sometimes not, that's all just part of the game."

Cinderella is at the Shaw Theatre on Euston Road from December 9 to January 3.

Tickets cost £18.50 (£9.50 concessions) or £50 for a family ticket. To get a discount, quote the 'Ham & High offer'. Call the box office on 0871 594 3123 or visit www.theshawtheatre.com.


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