See Glamorous '70s Icon Jill St. John Now at 81
She made history as a Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever.
You can't talk about the hip Hollywood crowd of the 1970s without talking about ultra-glam actor Jill St. John. Although she began acting as a child and started to see success through various roles in the '60s, it really wasn't until 1971 that she became a legitimate sex symbol after playing Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever, making history as the first-ever American Bond girl. St. John had many high-profile relationships before settling down and is in the orbit of a major Hollywood scandal, even though the parts she played from the '80s on have been few and far between. Read on to learn more about the now 81-year-old star's life today.
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She continued acting for a while but is all but retired now.
St. John is still best known for starring opposite Sean Connery in their 1971 Bond film, but she took on dozens of roles after that. Her film work includes Sitting Target, The Concrete Jungle, and The Player, in which she appeared as herself. But she appeared far more frequently on TV, guesting on shows including Hart to Hart, Fantasy Island, and Magnum P.I. Her most recent onscreen credit was playing Mrs. Claus in the 2014 TV movie, Northpole, with also starred her husband, Robert Wagner, as Santa.
In addition to her acting career, St. John also made her mark on the culinary world, making talk show appearances and authoring The Jill St. John Cookbook in 1987.
She and Wagner have been together for 40 years.
St. John and Wagner have been happily together since 1982, but before that, St. John was linked to the likes of Jack Nicholson, Frank Sinatra, Tom Selleck, and Roman Polanski, among other big names. She's been married three other times: to Neil Dubin from 1957 to 1958; to Lance Reventlow, an heir to the F.W. Woolworth estate, from 1960 to 1963; and to singer Jack Jones from 1967 to 1969.
When she married Wagner in 1990, they had been an item for eight years and had known each other for even longer. Even as St. John slowed down her acting career, the couple still found ways to work together, including in an early '00s production of the play Love Letters in San Francisco.
"There's a shorthand between us because we really do love each other," St. John said to SF Gate of doing the play with her husband. "The reality of that makes the performance all the more believable. And because we know each other so well, we are able to get some values out of it that are very particular to us."
Wagner and St. John mainly reside in Aspen, Colorado. Though they don't have any children together, St. John is stepmother to Wagner's daughter, Courtney, from his marriage to the late Natalie Wood; Katie, his daughter ex-wife Marion Marshall; and Natasha, Wood's daughter from her previous marriage to Richard Gregson.
She's been in a long-time feud with Wood's sister, Lana.
In a 1971 interview with The Miami Times, St. John claimed that it was "hard to be friends" with her, because she had gotten basically everything she wanted out of life. She added, "It's difficult not to be jealous of me. I am so incredibly lucky, and so many wonderful, nifty, marvelous things happen to me."
This attitude might have caused issues with some of her peers over the years, as she reportedly still feuds with Lana Wood, her husband's former sister-in-law and her Bond co-star. The rift dates further back than the controversy around Natalie's death, and instead reportedly started on the set of Diamonds Are Forever when Connery apparently had flings with both Lana and St. John.
Of course, matters between the former colleagues did not improve after Natalie Wood died in 1981 at the age of 43. The actor had gone out on a boat in Southern California with Wagner, Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and a captain, and apparently drowned, her body being found the next morning, though it remains a mystery how she came to be in the water. The case was reopened in 2011, after which the official cause of death was changed to "drowning and other undetermined factors." Wagner, who the boat's captain Dennis Davern claims argued with Natalie before she disappeared, was named a "person of interest" in her death by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2018. No charges have ever been filed, and Wagner maintains that he had nothing to do with her death.
In 1999, St. John refused to be photographed with Lana for a Bond girl reunion spread in Vanity Fair. And in 2016, Lana came uninvited to an event honoring St. John to confront Wagner about speaking to detectives investigating the reopened case.
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She maintains a private life.
Despite her proximity to one of Hollywood's most frequently discussed unsolved mysteries, St. John maintains a low profile and has for quite some time. She has no social media presence, but her husband posts to Instagram often, sharing some snapshots of their lives. On St. John's last birthday, he shared a tribute to her, captioning a gallery of photos of the two of them together, "Happy 81st Birthday to my beautiful incredible wife."
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