Food You Can Eat: Celebrity Sunday Matinee: Ursula Andress’s Goulash

"The successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be." That's what Dr. No thought...

Ursula Andress is the one on the left.

Hoo boy howdy! Strap yourselves in for this one.

Urs was born in Switzerland, one of six children. Being Swiss and all she grew up speaking French, Italian, and German. Her father was a German diplomat who was kicked out of the country “for political reasons,” but I can’t find out when or why. Since Ursula was born in 1936 and WWII lasted from 1939 to 1945, and Switzerland being neutral was practically the only crossroads left in a continent engulfed by war, well, one can only speculate. At 16 she went off to Paris to study art for a little bit, then went to Rome (as one does while still a teenager) and there, in the Eternal City, she met a director at a party and she showed up on screen. A talent scout from Paramount noticed her and either at 18 or 19 she was Hollywood bound.

And then, nothing. She was under contract to Paramount but she was never cast in anything. She did manage to squeeze in a relationship with James Dean right before he died. She then went to Columbia, and then…nothing again. Part of the problem was she didn’t speak English very well and didn’t like speaking it. But she met and married the somewhat infamous John Derek, who devoted lots of time to making her a star.

Stardom came quickly when audiences went to see the first Bond film, Dr. No, and her entrance consists of her rising out of the sea in a bikini with a dagger strapped to her hip. More than once this entrance has been called the #1 sexiest movie scene of all time.

The following year (1963) her next movie came out, one of those fun Elvis movies called Fun in Acapulco. Babes in bikinis, yes, AND Elvis spends at least half the movie wearing skintight mid-thigh bathing trunks, sometimes wearing a shirt, most often not. As Stephon would say, “That movie had everything.”

Now we switch to her personal life, because it became so intertwined with her screen work. She separated from her husband over an affair she had with her Once Before I Die costar Ron Ely, prime midcentury beefcake and better known as Tarzan from the TV show. He recently emerged from obscurity because:

On October 15, 2019, Valerie [Ely’s wife] was found stabbed to death at the Hope Ranch residential community along the Santa Barbara coast where the couple lived; Ron was unharmed.Police were called to the scene for a “family disturbance”,and a suspect identified as the couple’s son Cameron was shot dead by police.

From 1965 to 1972 Urs lived with her costar from Up to His Ears, Jean-Paul Belmondo. This is getting ridiculous. She then went on to date, among others, Ryan O’Neal and John deLorean. In 1979 she was Aphrodite in that great cinema classic Clash of the Titans and guess what happened? She had a relationship with a very young and hot Harry Hamlin and they had a child. 

The night of her delivery, Linda Evans drove Andress to the hospital while Evans’ assistant Bunky Young retrieved Hamlin from the set of King of the Mountain.

The following year (1981) Linda Evans began her role as Krystle Carrington on Dynasty.

I think we should really wrap it up here (in the 80s she dated Julio Iglesias) and move along to the goulash. Urs is still alive, she’s 86, and divides her time between an apartment in Rome and a home in Switzerland near her siblings.

Ursula Andress’s Hungarian Beef Goulash

3 lbs. top grade beef steak (top sirloin or lean sirloin)
Salt, freshly ground pepper, Hungarian sweet paprika and flour
2-3 tbsps. vegetable oil (or butter)
3 onions, peeled and chopped
2 large peppers, cut in large pieces
4 tomatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 heaping tbsps. Hungarian sweet paprika
About 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid (beef stock mixed with 1/3 cup Cognac)
Snipped parsley

1. Trim beef in 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Sprinkle cubed meat generously with salt, pepper, paprika and a little flour (use sparingly). Set aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil (or butter) in bottom of a heavy Dutch oven (or deep skillet). Add onions and peppers; cook slowly until vegetables begin to soften; remove vegetables from skillet; set aside.

3. Add more vegetable oil (or butter) if needed; brown beef quickly on all sides. Return vegetables to skillet with tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and liquid. Mix well. Cover, cook over low heat about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover, cook 1/2 hour longer to reduce stock. Correct seasonings. Garnish with snipped parsley. Serve with boiled potatoes, buttered noodles or sauerkraut.



    • Do you know who else was in Clash of the Titans? Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Sian Philips (she played Livia in I, Claudius), Claire Bloom (Lady Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited and Queen Mary in The King’s Speech), Tom Pigott-Smith (The Jewel in the Crown) and others. All that talent squeezed into a slightly less than 2-hour run time. And the special effects! Breathtaking.

      • Reminds me of another Laurence (This Estate Needs Another Roof? Time For Another Accent!) Olivier movie, The Boys From Brazil.

        Also starring Gregory Peck, Uta Hagen, James Mason and Denholm Elliott. And Steve Guttenberg!

        • I loved that movie. I saw it twice when it came out. It’s based on the book by Ira Levin, who also wrote (the books) Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. I’ve never read any of his books and I really should because I bet the movies (all three of which I love) barely scratch the surface of the source material. That was what I found when I read Jaws, The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, and most astonishingly, The Poseidon Adventure, which is a really very thoughtful (and long) book with a much larger cast and contains hundreds of events that lead to a different ending.

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