007 MAGAZINE - The World's Foremost James Bond Resource!


  10 September 2014  

FOR YOUR EARS ONLY – the autobiography of Nikki van der Zyl Foreword by Goldfinger Oscar-winning dubbing editor Norman Wanstall

Nikki van der Zyl

Nikki van der Zyl’s contribution to the early James Bond movies is legendary. Her revoicing of many of the principal (and smaller part) actresses was demanding in the extreme and her professionalism was admired by all who worked with her. Only rarely in film production are the voices of actors deemed to be unsuitable in terms of clarity, diction or accent, but throughout the early days of the Bond series actresses were cast for their visual suitability rather than their mastery of the English language. As a consequence the voices of several ‘Bond Girls’ were judged to have insufficient clarity for world markets and Nikki was selected for the highly specialised task of re-voicing them. Film actors are frequently required to re-record lines of their dialogue after a film is shot, especially if ambient conditions on location have made the original sound quality unacceptable. It’s a straightforward procedure as actors are familiar with their own style of delivery and they rapidly recapture their original performance and timing. On the other hand the task of replacing the voice of another actor and achieving perfect synchronisation , clarity and accent is a far greater challenge and only a specialised performer of Nikki van der Zyl’s standing would be considered to take it on. It is to Nikki’s credit that her performances have never been questioned and her greatest reward is to witness the disbelief of those informed that Ursula Andress’ voice is not her own. The same can be said of the voice of Claudine Auger in Thunderball and many others too numerous to name. As is shown by the credits at the end of any movie, filmmaking is teamwork and in the case of those early Bond blockbusters Nikki played her part with distinction. It is of great surprise to those who worked with Nikki that her name was never included in the credits.

Nikki van der Zyl reads Ursula Andress’ lines that she revoiced for the first Bond film Dr. No (1962)


James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, Nikki van der Zyl, Gert Frobe, director Guy Hamilton and Harold Sakata on location at Stoke Poges golf course Goldfinger (1964)
ABOVE: James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, Nikki van der Zyl, Gert Frobe, director Guy Hamilton and Harold Sakata on location at Stoke Poges golf course Goldfinger (1964).

Nikki van der Zyl photographed by Graham Rye 2014

Nikki van der Zyl – Voice of the Bond Girls

The definitive listing of the actresses revoiced by Nikki van der Zyl in the James Bond films

Year Film Actress Character
1962 Dr. No Ursula Andress Honey Ryder (entire vocal and singing performance)
    Eunice Gayson Sylvia Trench (entire vocal performance)
    Dolores Keator Mary (entire vocal performance)
1963 From Russia With Love Eunice Gayson Sylvia Trench (entire vocal performance)
1964 Goldfinger Nadja Regin Bonita (entire vocal performance)
    Shirley Eaton Jill Masterson (entire vocal performance)
1965 Thunderball Claudine Auger Domino (entire vocal performance)
1967 You Only Live Twice Mie Hama Kissy (entire vocal performance)
1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service Virginia North Olympe (entire vocal performance)
1971 Diamonds Are Forever Denise Perrier Marie (entire vocal performance)
1973 Live And Let Die Jane Seymour Solitaire (part vocal performance)
1974 The Man With The Golden Gun Francoise Therry Chew Mee (entire vocal performance)
1979 Moonraker Corinne Cléry Corinne Dufour (part vocal performance)